HOCSF dismisses report on alleged N23m extortion, gives 24 hours for retraction

By Okon Okon
The office of the Head of the Civil Service of the Federation (HOCSF) has dismissed a report by Sahara Reporters on alleged N23 million extortion from 92 applicants vying for the post of Permanent Secretaries.
Mr Mohammed Ahmed, the Director of Communications in the office of the HOCSF, made this known in a statement on Friday.
The report had also alleged that the office also plans to manipulate the postings of the Permanent Secretaries to different ministries.
“The attention of the office of the HOCSF has been drawn to a frivolous allegation labeled against the person of the Head of the Civil Service of the Federation, Dr Folasade Yemi-Esan, by your medium via an online news story published on Oct. 20.
Ahmed in a statement quoted the Sahara Reporter with the misleading heading, “How Nigeria’s Head of the Civil Service of the Federation Extorted N23 million From 92 Applicants Vying for Post Of Permanent Secretaries, Planned To Manipulate Posting To Ministries”
According to Ahmed, the unfounded report alleged that the HOS compelled 92 applicants participating in the ongoing selection process for the appointment of Federal Permanent Secretaries to pay the sum of N250,000 each for a one-week training programme.
The programme which would commence from  Oct. 23 to 28 at the Public Service Institute of Nigeria (PSIN).
“It is imperative to state here that the course fee was not determined by the office of the HOCSF nor is it paid into the office‘s account.
“The  training and retraining of civil servants is the core mandate of PSIN and the Administrative Staff College of Nigeria (ASCON).
“And as such, monies for such are paid directly into the aforementioned training institutions’ NUBAN account, linked to the Federal Government’s Treasury Single Account (TSA).
“It may also interest Sahara Reporters to know that the said training is the fifth in the series since its inception and, most importantly, it is optional, ” he said.
According to him, it is the prerogative of the prospective candidate to pay and participate or not.
The training programme, Ahmed said was aimed at refreshening, as well as sharpening participants skills and competencies and there is no penalty for non-participation.
“For the avoidance of doubt and the records, the process for the selection of Federal Permanent Secretaries is segmented, rigorous and transparent.
“The medium is advised to come for tutelage on the process and posting of Permanent Secretaries rather than relying on allegations and misinformation. This is highly unethical, to say the least.
“It is rather unfortunate that due diligence was not done by Sahara Reporters before this publication. It was written with the sole aim of misinforming the general public for reasons best known to them.
“In view of the above stated facts, you are requested to retract the said false, damaging and libellous report, put the records in proper perspective, as well as apologise within 24 hours to avoid legal action, ” Ahmed said. (NAN)