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Our Report And What Taraba State Public Service Rules Say

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THE POSITION OF THE LAW ON SECONDMENT

Chapter 2, Section 5 of the Taraba State Public Service Rules (2012 Edition) clearly spells out the procedures and conditions on secondment.

 

a)     THE MAXIMUM PERIOD OF SECONDMENT MADE AT THE REQUEST OF A STAFF:

The maximum period of secondment based on request (as in the case of the bursar) shall be four (4) years. Chapter 2, Section 5 (iv) defines the tenure of secondment as two (2) years at the first instances and another two (2) years at the second instances if the need for extension of such secondment arises. Therefore, the total number of years for secondment shall not exceed (4) four years. The appointment of the Bursar is regulated by the Law governing National University Commission (NUC). The Law stipulates five (5) years as the tenure of a substantive Bursar. This period of five (5) years is longer than the four (4) period for secondment as specified by Taraba State Public Service Rule. 

Chapter 2, Section 5 (iv):

''Secondment of an officer to the service of another Government, or approved Body or recognized International Organization at his own request shall be a maximum period of two years in the first instance after which the officer must apply for extension, seek for transfer, or return to his former post. All extension must be approved by the appropriate Committees and the State Civil Service Commission. The total period of such secondment must not exceed four (4) years''.

 

By this provision, the substantive appointment of the Bursar on secondment for five (5) years contravenes the provision of the Taraba State Public Service Rules.

 

b)    THE MAXIMUM PERIOD OF SECONDMENT BASED ON PUBLIC INTEREST:

The maximum period of secondment based on public interest shall not be limited to time. Few examples of secondment based on public interest are: call-up to compulsory military assignment to defend the nation; medical services to contend with the spread of epidemic; enlightenment campaign to curtail the spread of falsehood, etc. The appointment of the Bursar was not based on public interest.

 

Chapter 2, Section 5 (v):

''If it is in the public interest to second an officer, to the services of another Government or approved Body or recognized International Organization, the period of secondment shall not be limited and the officer shall continue to hold his substantive post and be entitled to increment and promotion and will be treated as having been posted on special duty''.

 

The Bursar of the University whose appointment is in contention was not seconded to the University on Public Interest. His appointment in the University on substantive Bursar was based a job vacancy that was advertised in the national dailies. He applied for the job and competed for it together with other applicants and he emerged as the best candidate for appointment. Therefore, his appointment cannot be classified under public interest as defined by the Chapter 2, Section 5 of the Taraba State Public Service Rules (2012 Edition).

 

Secondly, the Bursar has been enjoying promotion and salary increment from his former office as an auditor. Based on Chapter 2, Section 5(v) of the Taraba State Public Service Rules (2012 Edition), only staff whose secondment is based on Public Interest can enjoy promotion and salary increment and be treated as though such staff was posted on special duty. The Bursar is not on special duty yet he has been enjoying promotion and salary increment from his former office as Auditor. 

c)     THE PAY-POINT OF A STAFF ON SECONDMENT:

The pay-point of a staff on secondment shall be the benefiting organization i.e. the organization where the staff is seconded to. The Bursar of the University claims that he is on secondment to the University. If this claim is correct, his pay-point will be the university (the benefitting organization) but contrary to the provision of this law, he is still benefitting financially from his former office by receiving salaries, promotion and increment.

 

Chapter 2, Section 5 (vi):

''During the period of such secondment, the benefitting organization shall be responsible for the officer's personal emoluments''.

 

Therefore, the practice of receiving double salaries from two different bodies of the same government and the claim of refunding the excess is not covered by the provision of Taraba State Public Service Rules. It is a practice founded on illegality.

1.     THE POSITION OF THE LAW ON ACTING APPOINTMENT

Chapter 2, Section 6 of the Taraba State Public Service Rules (2012 Edition) clearly spells out the procedures and conditions on Acting Appointment. The purpose of Acting Appointment is to fill in the gap for a staff who is temporarily absent from office. Acting Appointment is not a form of promotion and must not be treated as such.

Chapter 2, Section 6 (Paragraph 020603):

''Acting appointments are not intended as a means of testing the suitability of officers for promotion; they will normally be made only in order to fill posts that are temporarily vacant and their duration should be limited accordingly''.

 The substantive Bursar of the University was first appointed in an acting capacity for three months (between December, 2021 and February, 2022). Within this period, he assumed the position of a substantive Bursar and paid himself the full salary and allowances due to a substantive Bursar. This runs contrary to the provisions of the law.

 The following financial provisions apply to any staff on acting appointment:

        i.            The staff shall be paid the salaries of his original office, not the office he/she is acting for.

       ii.            The staff shall be paid Acting Allowance.

     iii.            The staff shall be paid responsibility Allowance equivalent to the office he/she is acting for.

     iv.            Items i,ii,&iii above must not exceed the salary of the officer one is acting for.

 

2.     THE POSITION OF THE LAW ON RECEIVING DOUBLE SALARY

The Constitution of Nigeria 1999 and the Taraba State Government Domesticated Establishment Circulars (1985, 1991-2006); Reference Number S/PEN/T.1/6 24TH July, 2002 frowns at the collection of double salary by public servants. It reads in part:

 ''The attention Government has been drawn to the unbecoming attitude of some retired and public officers receiving or is being paid emoluments of more than one Public Office. This malpractice is not in conformity with the fifth schedule Part I paragraph 1,2 and 4(1) of the Code of Conduct for Public Officers (General) under the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria 1999''.

''For the avoidance of doubt, a Public Office shall not receive or be paid the emoluments of any Public Office at the same time as he receives or is paid the emoluments of any other Public Officer''.

 

Firstly, the Bursar of the University faulted this provision of the Law by receiving the salary of a Bursar between December, 2021 and February, 2022 (when he was not yet the Bursar but appointed in acting capacity); at the same time, collecting the salary of his original office as an Auditor in the office of the Auditor General.

Secondly, he continued breaking the law after his appointment as substantive Bursar of the University by collecting salaries at two points; at the University as Bursar and at the office of the Auditor General as an Auditor.  

signed 

Managing Editor 

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