Tuesday, 6 June 2017

Trouble in Ministry of Health * Staff at daggers drawn with commissioner, Permanent Secretary

Trouble in Ministry of Health * Staff at daggers drawn with commissioner, Permanent Secretary

The commissioner for Health in Akwa Ibom State Dr. Dominic Ukpong, his wife and the Permanent Secretary in the ministry, Mr. Atti Bassey has been fingered in a high level messy fraud which is allegedly currently rocking the ministry. Multiple sources from the Ministry narrated to THE INK yesterday in Uyo, the Akwa Ibom State Capital.

According to our reliable source in the ministry, the Commissioner had some times ago issued an order mandating the permanent secretary to direct all contracts coming into the ministry to his wife who he has been using to execute most projected carried out the ministry since he assumed office as commissioner.

Our source in the ministry informed our news desk that the Commissioner has been engaging in fraudulent activities since he took over but said that problems started when the commissioner directed his Permanent Secretary to award the contract to cook during a recently concluded one week training conducted by the state government in conjunction with US based group ‘Heart Foundation” for health care worker on Emergency medical services in the state.

The staff in the ministry alleged that the ministry, the commissioner’s wife served the guest present at the event with low quality food which was rejected by the participants. “Mrs. Ukpong has never been a cook we wondered why the husband will award such contract to his wife. The food she presented was not just substandard but was rejected by the guests at the event”. 

It was further gathered that the commissioner’s wife even fell down and broke her leg on the second day of the event while trying to serve the guests at the event. This ugly incidence we learnt brought great disappointment to the husband who was present at the hall.

She said that other companies had sent in quotation for the cooking job before the commissioner connived with the Permanent Secretary Mr. Atti Bassey to offer the job to his wife. The source also alleged that the cost for each plate of food was quoted at an exorbitant price of five thousand naira per plate. The price is said to be two times more than what a company had quoted.

This development has not gone down well with some staffers of the ministry who has come out to expose the shady deals which the Commissioner has been using tax payer’s money to engage in. 

Another high level fraud which the commissioner is accused by his staff to have again connived with his permanent secretary and wife to perpetrate is the furnishing of a forty two room apartment meant for Doctors on their Housemanship along Idoro road.

Members of staff of the Ministry of Health said the commissioner surreptitiously directed his wife to furnish the apartment even when a company must have won the contract to furnish the rooms. The contract, they said is yet to be executed even when they hinted that sufficient funds must have been released for the job.

Members of staff of the Ministry however expressed much worry over the development especially as concerns the Permanent Secretary. They said the permanent secretary who is retiring by September is behaving in manners not consistent with ethics of professionalism expected of a staff of such long standing in the civil service.

Efforts to speak with the Commissioner Dominic Ukpong proved abortive as he refused to respond his calls even as sms sent to his mobile line was not responded to as at press time.

The Permanent Secretary could not be reached as he kept rejecting calls sent to his line by our reporter. But a staff very close to the Perm Sect. Attih Bassey said, the permanent secretary would not want to speak on the matter. Our source said Mr. Attih Bassey would rather love to push the matter to the commissioner.

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