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Jonathan sacks embattled NIPC boss

President Goodluck Jonathan has fired the Executive Secretary of the Nigerian Investment Promotion Commission (NIPC), Ms. Saratu Umar, even as a replacement for the embattled official is yet to be named.

According to reports, Umar was dismissed from office with immediate effect.

It would be recalled that the former NIPC boss was the subject of a long-drawn controversy as NIPC workers went on strike to press home their demand for her removal having accused her of fraud, incompetence and high-handedness.

Subsequently, a panel was set up by the Federal Government to investigate the allegations.

The NIPC Staff Union had last week said in a statement issued in Abuja and signed by its Chairman, Ahmad Isah Ghondi: “Our findings have indicated that the Executive Secretary of the Nigerian Investment Promotion Commission (NIPC), Ms. Saratu Umar, has violated so many provisions of the Act in awarding contract to her cronies and has been running the Commission as a private entity.

“The Executive Secretary since her assumption of office a year ago has never advertised for bids as a pre-requisite for all contracts which is in violation of section 19(a) and section 16(1) of the Public Procurement Act. She has currently hand-picked and engaged the services of five Consultants which was not advertised for public bidding. In contravention of section 21 of the Public Procurement Act, she has refused to constitute a Procurement Planning Committee.

“The NIPC boss has failed in her one year administration of the Commission to obtain ‘No objection’ certificates which are normally issued prior to award of contracts and payments. This is in contravention of section 16 (1) and (4) of the Public Procurement Act. In her determined efforts to thrive in illegality, Ms. Saratu Umar, has put together an illegal Tenders Board which comprised of only two directors and other subordinate staff and completely sidelined other Directors who are still staff of the Commission. This illegal Tenders Board recently approved a Contract of N35 million for refurnishing of her office.

“The engagement of Consultancies and Contracts that is valued at millions of naira are done without any legal documentation, contract or agreements. It is worthy of note that under section 20(2) of the Public Procurement Act, the Chief Executive Officer is to be held liable in person for the breach and contravention of this Act, whether or not such breach was carried out by her or her subordinates.”

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