Two directors of the Nigerian Financial Intelligence Unit (NFIU) have instituted a suit against the agency at the National Industrial Court in Abuja on Tuesday.
The directors, Ms Fehintola Salisu, Associate Director, Compliance & Analysis, and Mr Muhammed Abdulrahaman associate director, Intelligence & Investigation were both relieved of their duties for alleged insubordination, according to the News Agency of Nigeria.
In a suit filed by P.T Akan, their counsel marked ICN/ABJ/253/2021, the directors are asking the court to set aside their dismissal from public service because it was done in contravention of the law.
What happened in court
In an affidavit in support of their motion, Ms Salisu and Mr Abdulraham (the plaintiffs) claimed they were dismissed because they responded to an international request from Partner organisation from Malta, seeking information on former Vice President Atiku Abubakar.
Ms Salisu responded to the request as the most senior person in the absence of the director of NFIU, and Mr Abdulrahaman wrote investigative authorities in Nigeria requesting details about the subject.
They alleged that in their queries, they were accused of bypassing the appropriate authorities before initiating the probe and were suspended Indefinitely in August 2020.
Six weeks into their suspension, they were called to face the appointments, promotion and disciplinary committee and were dismissed afterwards.
The plaintiffs argued that the Committee’s report indicted them on negligence, dereliction of duty and gross misconduct which they were not confronted with when they were queried and when they faced the committee.
They said, “The grounds or allegations on which the committee found us liable and recommended our dismissal, under Public Service Rules, 2008, can only give rise to a retirement or termination and not dismissal.”
They also sought an order of the court to set aside the findings and recommendations of the Committee upon which they were dismissed.
They are seeking the court to determine, “Whether, in the light of Rules 030102 of Chapter 3 of the Federal Government Public Service Rules, 2008, the defendants were vested with the power to dismiss the claimants from its services without such power expressly delegated to them by the Federal Civil Service Commission.
“Whether within the meaning and definition of Section 1 of Chapter 16, Rules 160101 and 060102 of the Federal Government Public Service Rules, 2008, NFIU does not qualify as parastatal. And if it does, whether the defendants are not bound to comply strictly with the provisions of the Public Service Rules, 2008 before dismissing the claimants from its service.”
They also sought an order directing the agency to issue a letter recalling and reinstating them back and restoring all privileges, entitlements and positions held before their purported dismissal.
They are seeking, “An order directing the defendants to pay the claimants’ salaries, allowances and all their entitlements from the period of their purported dismissal to the period of reinstatement.”
What you should know
NFIU is the central national agency responsible for the receipt of disclosures reporting organisations. It analyses the disclosures and produce intelligence to be disseminated to competent authorities.