Sen. Okowa said that the suspension was sequel to the flawed process which was fraught with sharp practices and could not be adjudged to be credible.
In a statement signed by the state Head of Service, Mr Patrick Origho, and released to newsmen on Saturday May 30, 2015, Governor Okowa said, “it is public knowledge that the process was fraught with sharp practices ranging from abuse of office to sale of jobs slots and therefore cannot by any stretch of imagination be adjudged credible, no flawed process produces a credible exercise.
The statement further added that, “this abysmal handling of the exercise culminated in the suspension of the chairman and members of the Commission and the setting up of an Administrative Panel to review the recruitment process”.
He appealed to Deltans for support and understanding on the suspension of the exercise assuring that” action will be taken to study the report of the Administrative Panel at the appropriate time with a view to strengthening the Delta State Civil Service Commission and ensuring transparent recruitment process”.
Deltans will recall that immediate past Delta Governor, Dr. Emmanuel Uduaghan had in the last week of his administration, suspended the Chairman of the Civil Service Commission, Emmanuel Tetsola and other CSC members and promptly summoned them to clear the air, over allegations of corruption and fraud in the employment process in the Delta State Civil Service.
Not satisfied with the explanations given by the Commission members, Governor Uduaghan directed the then Secretary to the State Government (SSG), Comrade Ovuozorie Macaulay, to immediately issue the Commission a suspension order.
Those said to have been affected by the suspension order include the commission’s chairman, Mr. Tetsola Emmanuel, Mrs. Tialobi Roseline, Tuedon Richard, Mr. Andrew Akanigha, Pastor Ifeanyi Agbeyeke—who are all members of the board of the commission, as well as Mr. Jerry Agbaike, the Permanent Secretary, and other directors.
The suspension was slammed on the Chairman and members of the Commission over what the State government described as gross mismanagement of recruitment exercises into the State Civil Service and an Administrative Panel of Inquiry was said to have been set up to review the exercise.
The statement by the then Secretary to the State Government, Comrade Ovuozorie Macaulay, said that the suspension became necessary as “the recruitment exercise which was to address some vacancies in the Service and respond to the employment needs of the State has however been abused and ridiculously mismanaged by the Civil Service Commission.”
Continuing the statement said, “More embarrassing is the allegation of gross misconduct, abuse of office and fraud involving the sale of employment on account of which some members of the commission are presently undergoing interrogation by the security agencies.” the SSG stated.
Macaulay had then explained in the statement that the suspension of the Chairman and members of the CSC was to sanitize the exercise and pave way for an administrative panel to be set up to review the exercise.
The suspension followed wide spread complaints that top members of the Delta CSC have allegedly been selling civil service jobs for between N700, 000 – N1.5million each. The racket according to reports, had allegedly been orchestrated through a supposed senior administrative officer, who had allegedly provide his personal Account with a leading new generation Bank in Delta State into which the deposits were said to have been made.
It will be further recalled that as far back as 2013, erstwhile Delta Governor Emmanuel Uduaghan had given the civil service commission the go-ahead to recruit workers. The commission had then imposed a directive that compelled applicants to purchase application forms at N2, 000 each in the form of bank drafts. The rest of the employment process was then to be completed online via an Internet site created by the commission, for which applicants were required to pay another N1, 000.
The public outcry that greeted that process had led Mr. Uduaghan to suspend the sale of employment forms, shut the website, and refund fees to applicants who had already paid.
However, it was widely speculated that the commission may never carried out the then governor’s order to refund fees, as some of those who allegedly paid the money and were said to be candidates of some big wigs in the state, were subsequently given employment in a hushed and highly covert arrangement.
In March 2015, the commission released the names of about 1,800 applicants shortlisted to be interviewed at the commission’s headquarters in Asaba, the state capital, for a fresh employment exercise, which was roundly criticized for its timing, coming as it did on the eve of the end of the Uduaghan administration.
But, it was alleged that, the Delta CSC, in a move reminiscent of an old and recurring habit associated with the employment process in Delta State, instead of issuing employment letters to successful shortlisted applicants, began to sell job slots to the highest bidders, most of them people who were not shortlisted for the jobs and quite a number of whom were alleged to be non Deltans.
The allegation was that people who never applied or sat for interviews were being issued with employment letters for as much as N700,000, N800,000, N900,000 and even N1.5,000, depending on their power of negotiation.