The Rivers State House of Assembly has ordered the state’s Hospital Management Board to pay over 10 years salaries denied one of its former staff, Mr. Princewill Elekima.
Elekima had petitioned the House, urging it to investigate and direct the Board to pay him his salaries between 1989-1999, when he was dismissed for alleged misappropriation.
It was gathered that, Elekima, was dismissed in July 1989, after he was accused of misappropriating the sum of N11,000. However, he was reinstated in 1999 after the board could not provide evidence of the stolen money.
It was further gathered that the Ministry of Justice had advised the Board to deduct the alleged stolen money and pay him the balance of his salaries for the period after he was reinstated in 1999. However, while the Board deducted the said N11, 000, his salary arrears was never paid him. Elekina has since retired from service.
Debating on the report of the House Committee on Public Complaints and Petitions, who investigated the matter, at its resumed hearing, yesterday, lawmakers condemned the action of the Hospital Management Board, despite that he was never convicted by any court of law or panel.
Opening debate on the report, Minority Leader and member representing Akuku-Toru Constituency One, Benibo Anabraba, described the action of the Board as a case of abuse of power. He, therefore, called on the House to adopt the recommendation of the Committee.
On their part, members representing Emohua, Sam Ogeh, Friday Nkee, representing Khana Constituency Two, and Chisom Dike, of Oyigbo Constituency, respectively, called on the House to ensure that Justice was done on the matter.
According to Sam Ogeh, there was no reason for the Board to take part of the legal advise from the Ministry of Justice and drop the other part.
In his ruling, the Speaker, Ikuinyi Owaji-Ibani, thanked the Committee for the job. He decried the action of the Board, pointing out that a leader must be fair to all despite sex, race, religion and others.
He, therefore, directed the Clerk of the House, Chief Stanley Oba, to convey the resolution of the House to the Board.
The Committee in its report, had recommended that the Hospital Management Board should be directed to pay Mr. Elekima his salary arrears as advised by the Ministry of Justice.