Chairman of Governing Board of the Nigerian Copyright Commission, Dr Tonye Clinton Jaja, has written to President Muhammadu Buhari, accusing the Director-General of the commission, John Asein, of interfering with the on-going investigation of the Code of Conduct Bureau and violating official secrets act and Public Service Rules.
The NCC DG is being accused of working with Reproduction Rights Society of Nigeria, one of the private collective management organisations licensed and regulated by the NCC, under the WIPO-ABS project including receipt and disbursement of monies as well as operation of the domiciliary bank account of REPRONIG as the sole signatory.
He was also accused of paying money into the bank accounts of members of the governing board without prior agreement or resolution of the board.
In the letter to the President, Jaja said that the NCC DG had been releasing the official memo to the media, which is a clear violation of both the Official Secrets Act and Public Service Rules by his publication.
He therefore suggested that Asein be suspended until the completion of the investigation by CCB.
He said, “There is urgent need for your intervention by way of suspension of Mr. John Asein, Director-general of the Nigerian Copyright Commission pending completion of the investigation by the Code of Conduct Bureau.
“Your intervention is necessary to prevent Mr. John Asein from compromising the on-going investigation by the CCB through his publications in online newspapers, etc.
“This publication of the contents of an official memo in an online newspaper is a violation of both the Official Secrets Act and Public Service Rules by his Publication.”
Asein, among other things, said the board could not meet because Jaja said he was waiting for a formal report of an investigation by the Federal Ministry of Justice on a petition of conflict of interest against the DG.
The DG NCC’s memo to Jaja further reads, “ With due respect, I wish to note that while the Chairman has repeatedly drawn the attention of the board members to a petition against me, he is not placing the matter before the board to determine the next line of action. Rather, the Chairman has several times bypassed the supervisory Ministry and the Board to initiate his own petitions based on the documents he claimed to have ‘received’."
In the said memo, the DG also said the Chairman had reached out to the various in-house unions in the commission with a view to obtaining information from them or instigating them against management all in a bid to have him removed from office as DG and to reverse the decision to audit the accounts of COSON.