By Emmanuel Mogbede
The Board of Projects Development Institute (PRODA), Enugu, has recommended the suspension of the Director-General of the institute, Dr Charles Agulanna, over alleged misconduct and financial indiscipline.
According to a credible source who pleaded anonymity, the board took the decision after establishing a prima facie evidence against the DG.
It added that the decision to suspend the DG was taken at the board’s quarterly meeting held between June 21 and June 25, after establishment a case against the D-G following a query issued to him on March 2.
The source said the meeting was chaired by the board’s chairman, Mr Daniel Onjeh
It told the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) that the D-G was allegedly found wanting via misappropriation of funds, prolonged absence from duty without leave, nepotism, corruption and insubordination.
It said Agulanna was also accused of suppression of vital information and sabotage, among others.
Efforts by NAN to get reactions from officials of the Ministry of Science and Technology as well as the PRODA D-G proved abortive as calls and text messages were not responded to.
“The letter recommending the suspension of the DG was forwarded to the Ministry of Science and Technology for necessary action as the parent ministry and was signed by Onjeh, Prof. Mohammed Mu’azu, Hon. Diran Ayanbeku, Hon. Gabriel Akpan and Mr Anpe Fut,” the source said.
It said that the recommendation for the suspension of the DG for six months was in line with Chapter 3, Section 4 and Subsection 030406, of the Public Service Rules.
It added that the suspension of the DG was also in compliance with the circular issued by the Secretary to the Government of the Federation (SGF) with Ref. No: SGF/OP/I.S.3/T/163 and dated May 19.
The source further added that the DG was working at cross-purposes with the policy direction of the President Muhammadu Buhari-led administration, by sabotaging the Board’s efforts at helping to reposition the institute to fulfill its core mandate.
It said that the board’s Establishments Committee had been directed to investigate the allegations against the DG and to submit a report within six months.
“Consequently, the Board unanimously recommended the suspension of the DG for a period of six months, pending the conclusion of the committee’s findings.
“In invoking the above provision, the Board was properly guided by Chapter 16, Section 5, Subsection 160501 and 160502 of the Public Service Rules.
“The Board further recommended that in line with the SGF’s circular of 4th December, 2017, the next most senior officer of PRODA should act in the absence of the DG.
“The Board considered it necessary to suspend the DG while the Committee carries out its work,” the source said.
It said that in spite of concerted requests by the board, the DG failed to avail it of PRODA’s Audited Accounts for 2018 and 2019; Procurement Plans and the Minutes of Tender’s Board meetings for 2018 and 2019.