N2.5bn fraud: Tension grips Uniben and Auchi Poly over visitation panel
– By Osehobo Ofure
Ahead of the Federal Ministry of Education’s visitation panel’s trip to look into the many allegations of fraud involving the two institutions, tension has gripped the management of the University of Benin and the Federal Polytechnic Auchi both in Edo state.
Indications are the panels which have since received their briefs from the Ministry in Abuja will soon be on their way to the two institutions and the nine other universities and Polytechnics, which the Ministry oversees, across the country .
The Minister of Education, Alhaji Adamu Adamu had inaugurated the visitation panel few days to Christmas in Abuja and listed the other affected institutions as Federal University Dutsin-Ma, Katsina state, Michael Okpara University of Agriculture, Umudike in Abia state and University of Uyo, Akwa Ibom state.
Others are the Federal University Kashere, Gombe state, University of Abuja, FCT, University of Nigeria, Nsukka, Enugu state, Federal Polytechnic, Auchi, Edo state, Federal Polytechnic Oko, Anambra state, Yaba College of Technology, Lagos state and University of Calabar, Cross River state.
While at the University of Benin, the panel is expected to see, first hand, all the documents relating to the allegation of graft which formed the series of petitions by some members of staff, received by the Minister, the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC and the Independent Corrupt Practices Commission, ICPC.
The allegations range from procurement fraud to overtime racketeering and grand looting of Internally Generated Revenue running into millions of Naira, some allegedly with the knowledge and active connivance of the University governing council.
In the petition, the petitioners and staff of the university labelled the University of Benin, “a cesspool of corruption”, even as they called on President Muhammadu Buhari to beam his searchlight on the decay in the University which has the Emir of Kano, HRH Muhammad Sanusi, as Chancellor.
The petitioners allege a “N320million promotion arrears paid to staff in 2017”, but which was actually diverted at a time most members of staff have not had their appointments confirmed, not to mention promotion.
They have also referred to a N132 million procurement fraud in three batches; two in 2016 involving the sum of N63 million and N96 million with the third involving the sum of N231 million purportedly spent on a contract for printing of security and non-security documents which were actually contrived.
Another petitioner alleged that of the sum of N1.7 billion generated as internally generated revenue, IGR, mostly from consultancy services to federal, states and local governments in the country only about N700 million was remitted to the treasury single account, TSA.
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