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Tinubu Condemns Salary Fraud by Absent Civil Servants, Calls for Refunds, Punishments

Tinubu has admonished civil servants for receiving salaries abroad without resigning and advocates for restitution, disciplinary measures against implicated supervisors.

President Bola Tinubu has criticised civil servants who still receive salaries without formally resigning, despite relocating abroad.

The president, who delivered the rebuke Saturday night at the 2024 Civil Service Award and Gala Night, said not only will the culprits refund money taken illegally, their supervisors and heads of department must also be punished for aiding and abetting the fraud on their watch.

Tinubu equally honoured a civil servant, Odii Ndubuisi Barry, a GL 17 Director, with the Ministry of Humanitarian Affairs with a Presidential Civil Service Merit Award for coordinating the movement of the Nigerian team and international solicitors during the litigation between Nigeria and Cameroon over Bakassi, as a protocol officer to the National Boundary Commission.

Represented at the occasion by the Secretary of the Government of the Federation, Senator George Akume, Tinubu urged those in charge to ensure that the culprits were held accountable and the funds illegally paid recovered.

He further vowed their supervisors and heads of the complicit departments must also be punished for abetting the scam under their watch.

“During my recent visit to South Africa, I kept abreast of the week’s activities and was particularly struck by the revelations shared by the Head of the Civil Service regarding employees who had relocated abroad while drawing salaries without formally resigning.

“It is heartening to hear that measures have been taken to address this issue, but we must ensure those responsible are held accountable and restitution is made.

“The culprits must be made to refund the money they have fraudulently collected. Their supervisors and department heads must also be punished for aiding and abetting the fraud under their watch,” Tinubu said.

According to the president, the Civil Service as the bedrock, engine, locomotive of government, was necessary for the government to deliver public goods to citizens.

He said it could not be a workplace, where anything is possible and where workers violate rules without the fear of punishment or repercussion, stressing that the civil service of any nation was too important for such misconduct to take root or be tolerated.

His words: “Those who say that a nation is as good as its civil service are close to the truth. You are the real establishment that remains to pilot government affairs as we politicians come and go.”

Tinubu said over the decades, successive governments, which initiated various National Development Plans and programmes, relied on the civil service to translate such plans into high-impact programmes and projects across all sectors of the nation’s economy.

While determined to continue the legacy, the president asserted that over the past year, he had provided all the necessary support to the Head of the Civil Service of the Federation to ensure the continued stability of the civil service and to implement far-reaching policies and reforms capable of improving efficiency and service delivery.

He noted that last year, the administration approved the implementation of the civil service reforms in the Federal Capital Territory Administration, resulting in the FCT Administration now having its civil service commission, Head of Service and six permanent secretaries.

He said it was heartwarming to note that the Federal Civil Service was driving a strategic plan that aligned with the priorities of the administration’s Renewed Hope Agenda.

Tinubu, therefore, commended the dedication of the Head of Service of the Federation, Dr. Folasade Yemi-Esan, in steering reforms towards creating a world-class service that upholds meritocracy and excellence.

He urged swift implementation of the reforms by ministers, permanent secretaries and chief executives within their respective ministries, adding their commitment to delivering on the Renewed Hope Agenda demanded urgency, without compromising due process.

“I am aware that due process must be followed in conducting government business but that should not give room for any form of red-tapes or insistence on unnecessary bureaucracies.

“We have pledged to work for the Nigerian people, and it is critical that all civil servants, and indeed all public servants, recognise the key role they must play in the achievement of our national potential,” he said.

In her keynote address, Yemi-Esan said after a rigorous selection process, 39 officers from the MDAs were deemed meritorious of the 2024 edition of the Federal Civil Service Rewards and Recognition.

Each recipient got N500,000 each courtesy of the Aig-Imoukhuede Foundation.

The categories of awards presented were: Presidential Distinguished Public Service Career Award; Presidential Civil Service Merit Award; Head of the Civil Service of the Federation Award; Public Service Excellence Award and 2024 Sports Achievement Award.

The star prize, a brand new 2023 JAC JS4 SUV was won by Dr. Mrs Mercy Olanike Ilori, a Director at Ministry of Transportation for facilitating the development of the ministry’s FCCCSIPS ecard and for championing the implementation of the Performance Management System (PMS) in her ministry.

Olawale Ajimotokan

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