That the Director General of the Nigeria Tourism Development Corporation( NTDC) was relieved of her job penultimate week is no longer news, what is perhaps news is the reasons why she was sacked. Although the reasons given in a letter titled “Notification of de-secondment from the Nigeria Tourism Development Corporation( NTDC)” and signed by the Secretary to the Government of the Federation, Babachir David Lawal on Sunday, November 27, 2016 stated that her secondment at the corporation had lapsed insider believes that her tenure would have been renewed but for the controversy that trailed her tenure.
The letter reads: “I refer to the attached letter, Ref. No. SGF.6/S.23/1/568 of 8th October 2013 in respect of your secondment from the Keystone Bank Limited to serve as Executive Director/ Chief Executive Officer of the Nigeria Tourism Development Corporation( NTDC) for a period of two years with effect from 6th May 2013.
You may note from the foregoing that the period of your secondment at the corporation had since lapsed on 5th May 2016.
Consequently, you are to handover the affairs of the corporation to the most senior officer on or before Wednesday, 30th November, 2016.”
For instance, Mbanefo had to run from pillar to post to ensure she was not consumed in the alleged N280milliom scam which rocked the NTDC under her watch.
Problem started for her as a result of a complaint by workers under the aegis of the Amalgamated Union of Public Corporation, Civil Service Technical and Recreational Services Employees, an affiliate of the Nigeria Labour Congress over illegal employment, abuse of office, diversion of funds and recruitment without due process at the NTDC
According to the petition sent to the Independent Corrupt Practices and other related offences (ICPC), Mbanefo was said to have misused N52,014,821 released to the corporation as capital budget from March to July 2014. She was alleged to have diverted the sum of N200million meant for training; the money was allegedly traced to the account of friends and associates of the agency.
The NTDC was also said to have procured a 200KVA used generator instead of 500KVA brand new generator as approved. The supplier of the said generator is said to be on the run.
A girlfriend of a popular Nollywood actor was said to have collected the sum of N5million for Nottingham carnival but did not attend the carnival, sources squealed that NTDC had nothing to do with the carnival, that the carnival was used as a conduct pipe to siphon the said money
The petitioner stated that the sum of N23million was allegedly released to former SA to former Minister of Culture and Tourism, Edem Duke and currently a CEO of one of the parastatals in the Culture and Tourism Ministry to support Facilitating Nigeria, a project an NTDC staff who craved for anonymity described as another phantom project which was conceived to milk the agency dry.
She is also alleged to be enmeshed in illegal employment and recruitment without due process. According to the petitioner, Mbanefo breached the civil service procedure by employing non-career officers Director level, one of them was a junior staff at Tantaliser while the other one was a retrenched staff from a collapsed new generation banks before they were employed.
Mbanefo was invited by the ICPC in a letter dated December 2, 2015, honoured the invitation on 7th of December 2015 and was granted administrative bail.
In a bid to ensure that the ongoing investigation of alleged fraud did not consume her and her job, Mbanefo allegedly begged some prominent Nigerians to plead with the power that be, to save her job. She was said to have begged a very senior Catholic Reverend and a serving Minister from the South East to intervene on her behalf but this National WAVES gathered has not yielded the desired result..
All efforts to get management of NTDC react met a brick wall as Grace, the Public Relation Officer of Corporation did not reply a text message sent to her phone to react to the petition sent to ICPC.