By Osaigbovo Iguobaro Benin
The probe panel investigating allegations of fraud in 11 Federal Universities and Polytechnics in the country may sanction the Federal Polytechnic, Auchi and the University of Benin for operating multiple accounts.
A reliable source said the move was based on the many terms of reference and the allusion to their existence by a petitioner who is also a member of staff.
The Minister of Education Alhaji Adamu Adamu had inaugurated the 11 visitation panels in Abuja and listed 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 and University of Nigeria, Enugu state, Federal Polytechnic, Auchi, Edo state, University of Benin, Federal Polytechnic Oko, Anambra state, Yaba College of Technology, Lagos state and University of Calabar, Cross River state.
The petitioner had in the letter she sent to the EFCC, ICPC and the Federal Ministry of Education, Abuja alleged that the accounts violated the presidential directive on the Treasury Single Account, TSA.
The petitioner alleged that , “there is a lot of money in these illegal accounts and there may be need for an external forensic audit of the institution’s account in order to ensure financial prudence and accountability.”
“This is because much of the subventions for the University between 2015 and 2017 from the Federal government and the additional Internally Generated Revenue (IGR), running into billions of Naira, from various business ventures and activities are domiciled in these secret accounts”.
The petitioner also alleged that the accounting process or procedure of the institution (University of Benin) must also be audited, as, “the bursary departments still rely on analogue mode of operation, with its attendant challenges and risks”.
“When the federal government said you must have single account, you cannot have various accounts. If you have various accounts what are they for? It amounts to violation of the relevant policy designed to promote transparency in the running of public organizations in Nigeria”.
Besides, postgraduate students of the University of Benin recently accused the institution’s management of operating an illegal bank account titled, “UNIBEN Staff Retreat/ External Assessors”.
They said they were being forced to pay the sum of between N60, 000 and N90, 000 as Masters and PhD students respectively into the account all in the name of the university paying for external examiners for project/oral defence.