*As national industrial court restraints Bayelsa head of service from terminating registrar’s appointment.
By Steve Seigha, Yenagoa
There are clear indications that the Rector of the Bayelsa state-owned International Institute of Tourism and Hospitality Yenagoa Mr. Samuel Timi Johnson may face legal action in court as sudden dirty revelations about him came up with dossier of criminal records of certificate forgery, double salary and other sharp practices in the institution.
Despite Governor Henry Seriake Dickson’s promise to Bayelsans that he would stop at nothing until perpetrators of payroll fraud in the state are shown the way out of service, strong indications have emerged that the embattled Rector of the state-owned International Institute of Tourism and Hospitality Yenagoa, recently engrossed in “toronto” certificate scandal, Mr. Samuel Timi Johnson may have been caught again in an alleged double salary fraud.
Sources at the institute’s bursary department revealed that by his appointment, Mr. Timi Johnson is entitled to a monthly gross remuneration of N471, 609, 13 (four hundred and seventy one thousand, six hundred and nine naira, thirteen kobo) only, but he allegedly connived with the institute’s acting bursar, Mr. Martins Diegbegha to jack up his salary to N887,353,22, with an additional sum of N415, 744,00, from the Institute Subvention, to make up for the salary of a substantive Rector of a Polytechnic or Monotechnic to enable him illegally earn the salary structure approved by the National Board for Technical Education (NBTE), without recourse to the office of Secretary to the State Government that employed him as a political appointee in the cadre of Senior Special Adviser to the governor.
According to close sources at the tourism institute, Mr. Timi Johnson who allegedly perpetrated the double salary fraud which has been reportedly running for about four months now with the connivance of the acting bursar, Mr. Martins Diegbegha, had requested the Registrar of the institute, Mr Leo Adeh to facilitate the shoddy deal which request was reportedly turned down.
Further investigation revealed that the Rector later made the request to the Registrar through an internal memo, dated April 26, 2019 to “liaise with the institute’s acting bursar, Mr. Martins Diegbegha to evaluate the salary difference of what am presently earning as Rector of the institute with what a substantive Rector is statutorily required to be earning and furnish same to my office for necessary action please” which request was turned down by the Registrar again, citing relevant sections of the Financial Regulations.
It was gathered that following the adamant position of the Registrar on the salary fraud, the Rector connived with the Acting Bursar, Mr. Martins Diegbegha and worked out the salary difference of a status appointed Rector and what he earns from the office of Secretary to the State Government as a political appointee, amounting to the sum of Four Hundred and Fifteen Thousand, Seven Hundred and Forty Four naira (N415,744.00), for the Rector which has been running for Four months, against the salary emolument contained in his appointment letter in contravention of the Financial Regulations.
A source at the State Treasury department hinted that “there is massive payroll fraud going on in that tourism institute which ranges from improper award of allowances and grade level steps, even after the Igodo Grade Level Steps Committee Report “
“It is only when the bubble bursts that this ongoing salary fraud among other financial crimes at the bursary department of this institute will stop”.
“It is unfortunate that some bad elements in government are still short-changing the government at a time the governor is working hard to manage the little resources to discharge its responsibilities,” an aggrieved staff confided in our reporter.
Meanwhile, the Registrar of the International Institute of Tourism & Hospitality Yenagoa, Mr. Leo Adeh has reportedly filed a suit at the National Industrial Court of Nigeria in Yenagoa Judicial Division holden at Yenagoa on Wednesday, August 21, 2019, in a suit no: NICN/YEN/41/2019, seeking reliefs to set aside the the purported termination of his appointment as Registrar of the international Institute of Tourism & Hospitality Yenagoa, an order of perpetual injunction restraining the Bayelsa state Government, the Head of Service and the Rector of the institute, or any other state officials, from further suspending, transferring or dismissing him from his position as substantive Registrar of the International Institute of Tourism & Hospitality Yenagoa, on account of the fraud alarm he raised over the alleged monumental fraud in the institute perpetrated by Mr.Timi Johson.
Mr. Adeh is also seeking the court for an order to award him the sum of ten million naira against the defendants as punitive damages for wrongful and illegal termination of his appointment as Registrar of the institute and consequent transfer to the ministry of culture and Ijaw National Affairs.
The Registrar’s legal action is sequel to an earlier letter emanating from the State Head of Service, Mr. Lukas Obiri, referenced GO/A/24/S.I/T/90, dated 20th August, 2019, to the effect that the substantive appointment of the institute’s Registrar, Mr. Leo Adeh has been terminated, while he was deployed to the state ministry of culture and Ijaw National Affairs.
When contacted for comments, the embattled Rector of the institution, refused to pick this reporter’s several calls, sensing that it is the reporter that broke the story about his earlier certificate scandal