Within just one year in office as Executive Secretary of the National Film and Video Censors Board (NFVCB), Mr. Thomas Adedayo has been accused of monumental fraud and illegal diversion of the properties of the board to the tune of multiple billions of naira.
In February 2018, staff of the board had written a petition to the Chairman of Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) Ibrahim Magu; Minister of Information and Culture, Lai Mohammed; Secretary to Government of Federation, Boss Mustapha and the Independent Corrupt Practices and Other Related Offences Commission (ICPC) accusing Thomas of fraud and of converting the board’s assets into his private use.
Some the allegations levelled against him include:
“That Mr. Thomas had on assumption of office as Executive Director on March 31, 2017 sold two official vehicles belonging to the board at the headquarters in Abuja to himself and converted two buses for field operations in Lagos to his personal use.
“That he illegally forged an official licence number plate bearing ‘PRESIDENCY NFVCB O3A’ with a pilot car 01A when the board is just a parastal under the Federal Ministry of Information and Culture.
As if that is not enough, the NFVCB boss uses siren and amber light pilot vehicle like a Governor to crisscross town and terrorise law-abiding citizens of Lagos State, a privilege which he is not entitled to.”
He was alleged to have forcefully gained entrance into the main store of the Abuja and Lagos offices, ransacked and carted away television set, refrigerators, air conditioners and other valuable items.
Also in the petition is the allegation that he broke the fence of the Lagos office and made away with a turban generator worth millions of naira belonging to the board, a case which is still being investigated by Alagbon Close Police Station ikoyi as a result of his usage of fake auction papers in selling the 300KVA generator for N30milion naira to a company in Lagos and paying only N20,000 into the account of the board.
The petitioners also said: “That all the Internally Generated Revenue (IGR) overhead and capital fund received last year running into over N150billion naira was siphoned through cronies and fake field operations.
“That the staff accused him of lacking in managerial skills, which is why since he assumed office as Executive Director, he has held only one management meeting and has refused to pay imprest to all departments, thereby crippling the operations and the smooth running of the board meanwhile he collects overhead from the government and pockets it, boasting that he handpicked all the new members of the board and submitted same to the Minister of Information and Culture, Lai Mohammed, whom he claims is in his payroll and does his bidding.
“That he cannot not read official files and act accordingly as recommendations documented and forwarded to him by staff and consultants have not been attended to for months.
“That Thomas converted the sum of N13million approved for a consumer forum in Bauchi from January 29 to 30 to his private use, releasing only a paltry sum of N4million naira for the event and pocketed N9million.
“That within one year in office, Mr. Thomas has travelled over 10 times abroad without carrying any of the supportive staff and Head of Departments along.”
The petitioners recommended a psychiatric test on Mr. Thomas to ascertain his medical fitness for the job following his unruly behaviour. “As soon as he reaches the office from the gate, he starts yelling at staff at the top of his voice,” they said.
Findings within the organisation revealed that the Executive Director had sexually harassed many female staff to the extent of touching their breasts. Some of the victims who craved anonymity confided in SaharaReporters revealed that this harassment had reached a crescendo — to the point of attempting to sleep with them in his office.
Further investigations revealed that Mr. Thomas fraudulently collected the personal bank accounts of some staff and directed the account department to pay huge sums of money to those accounts without the knowledge of the owners. He subsequently directed the owners of the account to make fictitious claims for the release of the money. Upon the payment of the money, he asked the staff to transfer the money to his personal account.
A staff member whose account had been used several times for the sharp practice told SaharaReporters that there were other victims, too, but they all were too scared to say the truth even though they were unhappy with their accounts being used for such fraudulent transactions. The staff member expressed worries that he had never applied for anything but somebody would just pay in a huge amount into his account without his knowledge and he would then be asked to apply for something to justify the disbursement of the fund.
Thomas was also accused of embarking on official trips alone, holding meetings with stakeholders alone, embarking on a massive transfer of senior members of staff opposed to his impunity and rendering them redundant and deliberately refusing to pay the transfer allowances due to them.
Sources inside the organisation revealed that he had succeeded in dividing the ranks of the staff through “divide and rule” tactics to provide a fertile ground for his dirty deals.
When SaharaReporters contacted Thomas to get his own side of the story, he failed to respond to the numerous allegations. Instead, he asked our correspondent to come to his Abuja office to enable him release some documents to him. An email was forwarded