THE Federal Government on Tuesday revealed that the officials of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission are currently investigating a number of allegations of financial impropriety in three new Federal universities.
The universities are: Federal Universities, Kashere, Dutsin-Ma, and Otuoke. The universities are being investigated arising from the utilisation of the take-off grants released to them by the Tertiary Education Trust Fund (TETFund).
Minister of Education, Malam Adamu Adamu, who made this known while inaugurating the 7-man probe panel to the 12 new Federal universities established by the last administration of President Goodluck Jonathan between 2011 and 2013.
The 12 New Universities are Federal University Lokoja, Federal University Oye-Ekiti, Federal University Ndufu-Alike, Federal University Dutse, Federal University Dutsin-Ma, and Federal University Gusau.
Others are Federal University Kashere, Federal University Gashua, Federal University Birnin-Kebbi, Federal University Lafia, Federal University Otuoke, and Federal University Wukari.
Adamu, said the 12 universities were provided with grants to enable them to effectively meet their operational recurrent expenditure and importantly, capital expenditure towards the execution of the various identified take-off projects.
He, however, said the audit panel was necessitated by the avalanche of complaints and petitions from stakeholders and clients including the new Vice Chancellors of the 12 universities as well as campus-based unions and community leaders.
“The EFCC is also currently investigating a number of allegations of financial impropriety arising from the utilisation of the take-off grants in some of the universities such as, Kashere, Dutsin-Ma and Otuoke,” he said.
The Minister added that in order to consolidate the funding of these universities to enable them achieve their overriding objectives, “it is highly desired, in line with the stance of the present administration on transparency and accountability in public affairs, that an audit of the utilisation of the grants for the take-off projects in the 12 universities be undertaken.”
While stressing that the audit penal was not an attempt to witch-hunt anybody, the Minister urged members of the committee to discharge the onerous responsibility with diligence and seriousness it deserves.
The committee was mandated to determine the actual amount released to the National Universities Commission (NUC) by the Tertiary Education Trust Fund (TETFund) as take-off grant for projects for the twelve universities.
Other terms of reference of the committee include, “to identify and confirm the number contracts awarded, including contract sums under the take-off grants; ascertain that due process was followed in the award of the contracts for the take-off projects; and determine the amount paid on each project, including outstanding claims if any, to date.
The panel was also asked to assess the status of the various projects implemented using the take-off grants; and make recommendations for any other issues relating to projects implementation in the 12 Universities.
Chairman of the panel, and Vice-Chancellor of the University of Ibadan, Professor Olufemi Bamiro, in his remark, assured the Minister that they would not disappoint the Federal government on the confidence reposed on the members of the panel.
He said he was confident that the outcome of the investigation, which is expected to last for twelve (12) weeks, would assist the Federal government in repositioning the institutions.