By Akanimo Kufre
An Assistant Director and Head of SERVICOM Unit in the Directorate of Technical Cooperation in Africa (DTCA), Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Mr. Ntia Thompson who was suspended from the service for exposing fraud has been finally re-instated after the intervention of the distinguished Senator Bassey Albert representing Akwa Ibom North East Senatorial District.
Mr. Ntia’s re-instatement is coming two weeks after Senator Albert’s intervention also led to the re-instatement of a police officer from Akwa Ibom State, Mr. Celestine Williams who was sacked from the service 21 years ago without trial.
In a letter of petition dated February 15, 2017 and sent to the Senate President through Senator Bassey Albert Akpan, Mr. Thompson reported the disappearance of $229, 000 at the DTCA to the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC). According to his petition, the said amount were funds meant for the monitoring and evaluation projects executed across Africa funded from the Nigeria Technical Cooperation Fund (NTCF) as well as for the celebration of the trust fund after its first life circle of ten years.
However, the fund, according to Mr. Thompson, was later withdrawn from the Central Bank of Nigeria by some senior officials of the Directorate and converted to their personal use, contrary to the extant procedures for such withdrawals. The officials implicated in the fraud were subsequently invited by the EFCC for questioning.
The step taken by Mr. Thompson offended some senior officials of the Directorate who then commenced various intimidating actions against him, ranging from issuance of letter of reprimand, queries, letter of serious warning and finally suspension from duty with the view of dismissal from service.
In view of series of threats issued to Mr. Thompson, he wrote to the Inspector General of Police in July 2016 alleging threats to his life and family.
Even though the EFCC had established a prima facie case against the officials, they were left off the hook while the police issued a preliminary report exonerating the major culprit in the case. “The Police report is the foundation of my suspension from duty as contained in their letter of suspension”, he said, adding that effective Tuesday 7th February, 2017, the Directorate has been chasing him with a letter of compulsory retirement from service.
In his petition routed through Senator Albert, Mr. Thompson prayed the Senate of the Federal Republic of Nigeria to investigate his complaint with a view to ensuring that justice is done.
In his petition dated March 13, 2017 and submitted on behalf of Mr. Thompson to the Senate, Senator Albert prayed his colleagues to look into the case as it borders on victimization for exposing fraud. The petition was subsequently referred to the committee on ethics, privileges and public petitions for further legislative action.
The effort of Senator Albert and his colleagues yielded fruit as the Senate recommended his re-instatement. Consequently, in a letter dated 20th June, 2017 titled, “Re-Disengagement from public service from the Directorate of Technical Cooperation in Africa (DTCA) and signed by the Director (APEED), K. G Dangiwa, Mr. Thompson was informed of his re-instatement with effect from 23rd February, 2017.
Mr. Thompson who was in the office of Senator Albert on Tuesday July 4, 2017 to thank him for playing a leading role in his re-instatement was full of praise to God for His faithfulness and mercy towards him.