© 2019 - International Centre for Investigative Reporting
FRSC reacts to The ICIR’s investigation but fails to address allegations against corps marshal
In his response to The ICIR’s report on how he forced new recruits of the commission to open salary bank accounts with the Safeline Microfinance Bank (MFB), in which he has an interest, Boboye Oyeyemi, Corps Marshall of the Federal Road Safety Corps, FRSC, has described the story as trash.
He denied the allegations despite verifiable and official documents affirming his directorship in the bank, while also failing to disprove the allegation of conflict of interest in the story published on Monday.
In a statement issued on his behalf by Bisi Kazeem, the Corps’ Public Education Officer,the FRSC boss also described the report as unfounded, seditious and as such a fabrication that cannot be authenticated.
Interestingly, sedition, one of the offences the FRSC hangs on The ICIR is a law that no longer exists in Nigerian jurisprudence as it was struck down by the court of Appeal in the case of Arthur Nwankwo vs Statez in 1982.
RE: RE:CONFLICT OF INTEREST: HOW FRSC CORPS MARSHAL FORCED OFFICERS TO OPEN SALARY ACCOUNT WITH MICROFINANCE BANK
The attention of the Federal Road Safety Corps (FRSC) has been drawn to a publication in the icirnigeria an online publication which is similar
— FRSC, NIGERIA (@FRSCNigeria) September 17, 2019
In spite of the story quoting Kazeem as denying that Boboye had an interest in the bank, the statement falsely claimed that the report lacked objectivity and that The ICIR did not seek clarification on the matter from the commission.
“….it lacked the basic elements of balance as there was no time that the writer sought any form of balance clarification, asked relevant questions or crosschecked the facts from us before going into the public, thus betraying the original intention of the hatch work which was to damage the reputation of the FRSC and its leadership,” Kazeem stated in the statement.
The truth is that the reporter spoke to Kazeem on the phone and his response to the allegation of Boboye’s directorship of a bank was “There is nothing like that. We have created a rejoinder in many places. The rejoinder is available.”
Through text messages, The ICIR went further to share its findings but he responded affirming his position in another text message.
Rather than address the specific allegations of conflict of interest and coercing new officials of the FRSC to open accounts with a bank, the statement claimed that “the original intention of the hatch work was to damage the reputation of the FRSC and its leadership.”
The statement failed to defend Boboye or provide proof disclaiming the report that he is a director of the bank, contrary to the law or if he derived any benefits or pecuniary rewards in his position as member of the management of the bank.
Thus the fundamental allegation of conflict of interest in the report was not addressed.
The ICIR report stated that “Oyeyemi’s actions directly conflict with provisions of the Nigerian Constitution. The Fifth Schedule of the 1999 Constitution, which deals with codes of conduct for public officials, states clearly in Part 1, Section 1 that “A public official shall not put himself in a position where his personal interest conflicts with his duties and responsibilities”.
Section 2 (B) states that a public official shall not “engage or participate in the management of any private business, profession or trade …”
Business here, according to Section 318 (1) of the 1999 Constitution, is defined as “any profession, vocation, trade, or any other adventure or concern in the nature of trade excluding farming.”
Though the report was not centred against presidential directive on new recruitments and its transparency, the FRSC used the argument to rationalise the instruction from the corps marshall compelling the new recruits to open accounts with a specific bank.
As such, he did not dispel claims by the new recruit of being coerced to own the accounts despite minimal branches it has nationwide.
“On the allegation that the Corps Marshal and Management of FRSC compelled the newly trained staff to open an account with Safeline Microfinance Bank, nothing could be further from the truth,” he stated.