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NTDC Is A Disappointment -Board Tackles DG

SALLY MBANEFO 1The governing board of the Nigeria Tourism Development Corporation (NTDC) has decided to deal with the issues of mismanagement, high handedness and disregard for civil service rules which are reportedly being perpetrated by the Director General, Mrs. Sally Mbanefo.
The Nigerian Times has learnt that in a board meeting held at the agency’s complex in Abuja on Friday, the board decided on the cancellation of all consultancy agreements entered into by the Director General.
The Nigerian Times had reported how Mbanefo engages consultants to do almost everything in the agency thereby making some staff of the agency redundant. This development is part of the growing disaffection between the staff and their boss. There are consultants in charge of restructuring, development of products and marketing alongside special projects which is being handled by one Ola Wright.
In a another development, The Nigerian Times was told that the Director General without proper notification of the board had invited members of the press to cover a re-commissioning ceremony by the Chairman of the Board, Adamu Atta of the NTDC office complex recently renovated by her administration. She also wanted him to commission open roof tourism buses being managed by the ABC Transport Company in partnership with the NTDC. The chairman who became very angry at the development scolded her thoroughly.
The Chairman, The Nigerian Times learnt insisted that until the DG is able to clear all the issues and complaints brought against her by various persons, there was no way she could embark on any new venture. Journalists who were invited to cover the commissioning event were later turned away without proper explanation.
It will be recalled that the same building was commissioned November 19, 2009 by President Goodluck Jonathan who was then Vice-President.
Our source disclosed that members of staff of NTDC were all in jubilant mood at the decision of the board chairman to correct all illegalities and injustice going on in the management of the corporation.
One who spoke on the basis of anonymity said: “We are all celebrating the Chairman. Even though some members of the board have compromised, he has remained resolute. The Chairman is standing his ground that every irregularity must be corrected”.
The Nigerian Times spoke with Mr. Andy Ikemneme, a member of the board representing the Ministry of Foreign Affairs. Our source accused him of compromise and complicity in the irregularities that goes on in the NTDC for personal gains.
He is also seen by our source as one who is not fit to sit on the board of the NTDC.
According to him, the position is meant for the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and should only be occupied by a civil servant of a Director cadre.
“I can tell you that he is a personal staff of one of the Ministers in the foreign affairs ministry and not a career civil servant,” he alleged.
According to our source, Ikemneme was ‘settled’ by a security contract in which Fountain Source Security Company (a company he is alleged to have interest in and endorsed) was engaged to take over from Scapat Security Services which provided security services for the corporation for years before the new DG was appointed.
Investigations by The Nigerian Times revealed that the new security company retained the staff of the former security company with a promise of better welfare and salary package.
A security officer who spoke after an agreement of identity protection told The Nigerian Times that it was based on the promise to increase welfare packages that the amount the NTDC pays the security company was reviewed from N500, 000 upward.
“As I speak to you, Fountain Source has reneged completely on all agreements they had with us. We used to earn N16, 000 monthly, they promised to pay us N24, 000 but that increase has not been implemented. To make the matter worse, some of us have not been paid for two months.
“We have complained but nobody seems to be doing anything about it,” he complained to our reporter.
Ikemneme who spoke to The Nigerian Times agreed to have attended the meeting however denied the entire allegation. He said he has no relationship with the said company and have not compromised in any way.
His words: “Why are you people distracting this woman? The DG complained of some security challenges in the organization and so the need to change the company providing the service and so we gave her approval.
“The present company tendered for the job and won the contract.”
When asked to comment on the botched commissioning ceremony, he said: “the issue of commissioning was not in our agenda and so I don’t know anything about that.”
When The Nigerian Times spoke with the Chairman of the governing board of the NTDC, Adamu Atta, he explained that those decisions the board took were in the interest of the corporation as so many actions of the DG have generated bad publicity in the media.
According to him, it is not time for the DG to grand stand or celebrate any mile stone but should devote her energies at explaining the query she got from the Minister of Tourism, Culture and National Orientation, Chief Edem Duke.
He said: “There have been gaps in the way the organization is being run by consultants because they do not brief or report to the board on developments.
“Consultancy must follow due process, but this is not the case in NTDC and that is why I have to cancel all the arrangements with them.
“A case in hand is the Fan’s village in Brazil issue; the people we cleared to travel to Brazil have complained that the consultants took over the assignment and also accusing us of using them to collect money illegally. These are allegations we cannot overlook.”
Concerning the botched re-commissioning ceremony, he said: “the said ceremony was not communicated to the board properly. She only informed me by a text message which was not proper presentation.
“I informed her earlier that I was not going to perform the commission but she went on with her arrangements.
“More interestingly, I was not given the background explanation for the said developments; how much was spent on the renovation and of what benefit. All these, I don’t have an idea. So it was not that I was angry, but I believe things must be done properly”.
The Nigerian Times had reported that the Minister had on the accusation of financial impropriety and betrayal of trust against the DG by President of Za Entertainment, Mr. Azania Omo-Agege set up a probe panel to unearth the truth of the matter and report back to him. We also reported that she shunned invitations to appear before the panel thereby squaring up with him.
When News of the People made a contact with the embattled DG, she did not respond nor send her response to the above report.

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