Appointment of Technical Assistants Tears House Committee on Public Accounts Apart

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Alhaji Ibrahim Jibril

Adedayo Akinwale ín Abuja

The unilateral appointment of two Technical Assistants by the Clerk of the House Committee on Public Accounts has created disaffection among the members of the committee.

The Clerk of the committee, Mr. Usman Ibrahim, had in letters dated October 4, 2019, announced the appointments of the two Technical Assistants, namely: Mr. Seidu Amodu and Mr. John Ogidi.

But other members of the committee frowned at the development, describing the action of the Clerk as absolute disregard for the parliament and the National Assembly bureaucracy.

To this end, the aggrieved members have vowed to investigate on whose authority such appointments were made and for what purposes since such had never happened in the previous sessions.

The copies of the two letters of appointments made available to journalists yesterday, read: “Following our earlier discussion on the above subject matter, I wish to convey the approval of the Department for your engagement as Technical Assistant to the Committee, commencing 23rd October, 2019 and subject to renewal after two years

“I wish to inform you that your schedule of duties include, analysing MDA’s responses to Auditor-General’s reports prior to the sessions and making recommendations, taking of minutes of Hearings/Meetings, participating in report writing and any other duties as may be assigned by the Head of Department.”

The letters also requested the appointees to report to the Head of Department for further instructions.

When contacted, the Chairman of the Committee, Hon. Wole Oke, denied knowledge of the appointments and also declined further comments on the issue.

However, a member of the committee who pleaded anonymity argued that the Clerk lacked the power to make appointment unilaterally under any circumstances.

According to him, “The powers to appoint staff into any Committee is vested in the National Assembly Service Commission in the first instance while the powers to deploy staff is vested strictly on the Clerk of the House of Representatives.”

The lawmaker noted that even the National Assembly Act setting up the Committee does not confer such enormous power on the Clerk to the National Assembly to appoint technical assistants to the statutory or standing Committees

He added: “So, on whose authority does the Clerk appoints the two young men we suddenly met at the hearing? I can’t recall that the Chairman discussed such appointments with us at any forum.”

The lawmaker stressed that National Assembly bureaucracy has adequate manpower to carry out such duties.

He wondered why the Clerk would appoint external people into such a sensitive Committee handling sensitive investigations, saying, “this is very strange and shocking to us, we will have to raise the issue at our next sitting to find out certain things and from there we will take up the matter with Clerk to the National Assembly”.