Civil Society Groups for Good Governance, CSGGG, and other allied civil society groups have faulted the allegations of fraud and maladministration brought against the Permanent Secretary, Federal Ministry of Science and Technology, Dr Mohammed Bello, saying the allegations were made in bad light.
Recall that following his query by the Head of Civil Service of the Federation, Dr Folasade Yemi-Esan, some media organisations had reported that Mr Bello was being investigated for allegedly buying an uncompleted building for the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development for N7 billion as well as giving out seven deep drilling rigs for borehole procured at N1.3 billion to some individuals under fraudulent arrangements while he served there as Permanent Secretary.
However, the CSOs, in a statement signed by Dominic Ogakwu, Suleiman Musa and 13 others, described the reports as the handiwork of mischief makers who were out to dent the image of the Permanent Secretary and paint the administration of President Muhammadu Buhari in bad light.
According to the groups, the Perm Sec has made it clear that the Minister of Agriculture, Audu Ogbeh and the Federal Executive Council FEC actually gave approval for the purchase of the building.
The CSOs, however, commended the Head of Civil Service of the Federation for acting swiftly on the allegations towards unearthing the actual facts in the interest of transparency.
“We find the publications malicious for several reasons. That the Dr. Mohammed Bello was queried on May 11, 2020 by the Head of Service with reference number HCSF/PSO/AOD/P.030/5B; and that the query was responded to and received by the Office of the Head of Service on the 15th Day May, 2020 without a mention of the reply in the publications is suspicious to say the least.
“Our preliminary findings have shown that all the transactions made at the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development while Dr Bello held sway as Permanent Secretary were approved following administrative principles, due processes and traditions in the conduct of government businesses.
“Also, that some of the allegations made are transactions that were done prior to the tenure of the accused Permanent Secretary’s. This thus means that the petitioners relied on deliberate falsehood to make unfounded allegations.
“We have conducted a scrupulous scrutiny on the matter and can boldly say that Dr. Bello did not run foul of Public Service Rules as reflected in incontrovertible documents which our findings have come across.
“We however, congratulate the Head of Service for querying the Permanent Secretary on receipt of such allegations as not doing so would have given the impression that she was shielding persons accused of corruption.
“This has also cleared all the wrong speculations as all due process was followed including FEC approval for the purchase of the said building”, the statement noted.
The CSOs further urged Mr Bello to disregard the antics of detractors and concentrate on his service to the nation, saying he has proven himself as a patriot in several responsibilities he has held.