Friday, Dec. 6, 2013

FG Jettisons Presidential Visitation Panel Report on UniAbuja, Engages 5 Vice Chancellors in 24 Years

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November 20, 2013

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Written by Ben-Bright Mkpuma

The report of the presidential special visitation panel to the University of Abuja has been dumped by the ministry of education/presidency. The visitation panel focused on seven key areas of financial management, general administration as regards senate and council affairs, programme audit, staff and students audit, project administration and procurement, conduct of academic and non-academic staff as well as admissions and examinations admission.
In the panel’s main report which was submitted on September 2012, it examined the account of the University from1988 to 2012 and disclosed that the total amount available to the school since inception to last year amounted to N34, 953, 209, 000.00. Out of this, the sum of N22, 937 629, 000. 00(65.62%came from government subvention, capital grants and other grants while the balance N12,, 015, 580, 000. 00 (34. 38%) was from internally generated revenue from other sources and student fees charged during under visitation.
The visitation panel also noted the allocations from the Tertiary Education Trust Fund and discovered that N3, 943, 417, 776. 67. Of the amount, the University has only accessed N619, 906 .67 leaving an outstanding balance of N3, 323, 511, 730.00 lying unutilised at the TETFUND.
The panel also discovered from the financial audit cases of unsigned financial statements for eight years by both councils and management; differences in figures of University records and audited accounts, consistent understating of the depreciating charges on the fixed assets; incorrect balancing of the individual creditor accounts; misclassification of expenditure items.
While noting the elongated tenure of the school external auditors Messrs. PKF & CO for eight years, the panel said had the habit of entertaining wrong creditor’s balances, resulting in duplication of the recording of liabilities that could lead to Loss University’s funds.
Further investigation on the University finances revealed cases of unretired advances amounting to N240 million mostly due to use of direct labour in the execution of projects; excessive increases in University’s expenditure profile due to poor planning and lack of financial prudence; irregular refunds of medical bills for the Pro- chancellor amounting to N29 million during the period 2009 -2012.
It noted violation of approval limits and contract splitting by the current Vice chancellor in the purchase of plastic chairs and tables to the tunes N37.6million and wasteful expenditure on public relations and image laundering to the tune of N5.6 million in April 2012, N25.5 million in the month of May, N14.6 million in the month of June, 2012 paid to some public relations outfits and prints/electronic media for the University image laundering and public relations.
The panel is of the strong view that the image of a University as a citadel of learning is best laundered by the quality of its research findings and breakthroughs, academic excellence and quality of its products.
The presidential panel noted there are cases of indiscretion on expenditure on security resulting in the misuse of funds referred to as “Security Honorarium” ostensibly to maintain security on campus. “This blatant abuse started in 2007/2008 during the tenure of Prof. Nuhu O. Naqub and continued unchecked under the current vice chancellor. Over N110, 647, 045. 00 has been misappropriated through the ‘security honorarium.
The panel also noted systematic increase on expenditure on council meetings from N49.6million in 2006/2007 to N79.08 million 2011/2012 all in the name of payment of council allowances at meetings, excluding cost of entertainment and refreshments. It confirmed that this happened because there is deliberate violation of government extant circular on allowances payable to part time members of government committees and boards by the University administration.
The panel also discovered in its audit that there are trapped funds in some liquidated banks to the tune of N21.03 million. Such banks defunct Allied bank with no reasonable chances of recovering it and All States trust bank now Eco bank (321.3 million).
Recommendations of the panel:
Among the key recommendations made by the panel are; removal of the Vice chancellor, Prof. Adelabu; removal of the current audit firm PKF & CO and to be replaced by the University council; auditor-general for the federation in the interim be directed to appoint the external auditors for the University and superintend their work plan and the segmented execution of the audit to completion.
Financial system needs to be overhauled. The audit unit should produce monthly reports as mandated by financial regulations. The Pro-Chancellor should refund refund the sum N3,645, 578, 62 being sums expended on his wife’s medical expenses.
The management of the University should be advised in strong terms that this manner of expenditure amount to financial impunity which should not be tolerated in a federal establishment.

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