The Director-General of the Nigeria Copyright Commission, Mr John Ohireime Asein, is allegedly involved in gross abuse of office and conflict of interest after keeping another employment and drawing salaries from both ends long after his retirement, PRNigeria reports.
In an investigation by Economic Confidential, the current Director-General of the NCC allegedly holds the position of the Executive Director of REPRONIG, a collective management organisation regulated by the commission, a practice, which clearly violates the Public Service Rules and runs counter to the code of conduct for public officers.
Further findings reveal that petitions from different interest groups had not seen the light of day, just as the anti-corruption drive of the present administration had been called to question due to insensitivity of those saddled with the responsibility of punishing offenders.
The Association of Senior Civil Servants of Nigeria, Copyright Commission Unit, in a letter dated February 7, 2020 addressed to the governing board of the commission, raised questions and sought clarifications on alleged violation of section 1 of the Code of Conduct Bureau and Tribunal Act regarding conflict of interest by concurrently holding positions of Director General of NCC and Executive Director of REPRONIG and another private organisation (Books and Gavel) one of which is a collective management organization regulated by the NCC and receipt of salaries and earnings from both jobs, receipt of four months unearned salaries worth over N2m after retirement from NCC in 2015.
As the Executive Director of REPRONIG, he was responsible for the day to day running of the organisation judging from income drawn from the firm.
For instance, intensive search by the Economic Confidential indicated that on May 8 and 17, 2019, payments were received by Mr Asein to the tune of N366,000.00 and N377,000.00, respectively.
On June 11, 2019, a payment was made by a proxy, a staff of REPRONIG amounting to N150,000.00, On July 17, 2019 another payment of N359,000.00, July 23, 2019 a payment of N292,000.00 was received by him and July 26th 2019 another N304,000.00 was paid to him.
On August 9 and 27, 2019 payments of N50,000.00 and N100,000 were earned by him from the same REPRONIG.
Furthermore, on September 27, 2019 there was another payment from the same source to Mr Asein amounting to N334,000.00 and September 30, 2019 came N302,000.00.
In October of the same year, the proxy remitted the sum of N765,700.00 to him rounding off the transactions for 2019.
Meanwhile, Mr Asein is alleged to have failed to disclose funding received from French Government Development Agency for audit of CMOs (AFD funding secured by September 2019) and subsequently wrote to the Minister of Finance by letter dated 30th December, 2019 to demand N20m for a similar project.
He is also alleged to have failed to implement the resolutions of the Governing Board of the Nigerian Copyright Commission since July 2019 and to seek the approval of the board for transactions exceeding N5m.
Contacted on the development, Asein stated that he would not respond to allegations currently being handled by the supervising Ministry of Justice, adding that all queries in the past had been diligently attended to.
Chairman of the Governing Board of NCC, Dr Tonye Clinton Jaja, did not pick his calls nor respond to text messages sent to him on the allegations against the Director-General.