A GROUP, going by the name Edo Forum of Liberators (EFL) has charged the Economic and Financial Crime Commission (EFCC) and Independent Corrupt Practices and Other Related Offences Commission (ICPC) to urgently arrest and prosecute the former Ambrose Alli University, Ekpoma, Vice-Chancellor, Professor Ignatius Onimawo five years ignoble and alleged corruption-plagued administartion.
In a press statement made available to Trojan.com.ng correspondent, the group said the anti-corruption fight under Buhari’s Presidency can only prove its consistency if Prof Onimawo is brought to book over several allegations of financial misconduct and outright looting of funds meant for the development of the University.
“We’re Indigenes of Edo State and a watchdog organisation seeking for the development and betterment of our dear state.
“We’re sending a former petition to the EFCC and ICPC this week to arrest and commence prosecution of the former Vice-Chancellor of Ambrose Alli University.
“The university is in ruins and the workers have not being paid salaries for upward of six months and our children have been at home as a result of industrial action embarked upon by the ASUU chapter of AAU union, Dr. Marcus Abure, Secretary-General of the organisation said.
The call came against the backdrop of staff and students sweeping away the feet of the former Vice-Chancellor in a symbolic gesture to purify the profane administration of the immediate past Vice-Chancellor.
Trojan.com.ng earlier cataloged the alleged financial atrocities of the ex-while Vice-Chancellor which includes over-invoicing, inflation of contracts sum, misappropriation of funds met for infrastructure, and nonexistent of contracts paid for.
Inside sources revealed that Governor Obaseki late last year contacted the Economic and Financial Crime Commission (EFCC) to probe the numerous allegations of contracts splitting; over-invoicing, kickbacks, diversion of public funds meant for the institution’s capital projects, and irregularities in the employment process leveled against Prof. I.A Onimawo.
Our source at the EFCC headquarters in Abuja confirmed to our correspondent that several petitions bothering on corruption leveled against the Vice-Chancellor are being treated by the new boss of the anti-corruption agency, Mr. Abdulrasheed Bawa. Governor Obaseki was allegedly said to been prevailed upon to abandon the prosecution of Prof. Onimawo by the PDP big wings who gave the Governor the opportunity to fly the party ticket in the last governorship election since the outing VC’s tenure will be expiring in May this year.
Prior to the setting up of the Visitation Panel with a period of six weeks to submit its report, the former Vice-Chancellor was said to have been on a warpath with the former Pro-Chancellor and Chairman of Governing Council of the University, Chief Lawson Omokhodion, the University’s Chapter of Academic Staff Union of the University (ASUU) and other staff unions in the University.
The University Chapter of ASUU was throughtout on the throat of the fomer Vice-Chancellor for lack of transparency and due process in the administration of the institution with particular reference to the management of resources, employment, appointments and promotion, high-handedness and other unresolved sundry issues.
In one of the severally correspondences mailed to the Chairman of Council sighted by Trojan.com.ng, ASUU reminded the Council of its discovering of dooming pictures of financial corruption going on in the institution as evident in the report of Due-Diligence Panel of the University.
One of such letter then reads: “The Pro-Chancellor and Chairman of Governing Council may wish to recall his address at the July 29, 2019 meeting with staff of the university, with particular reference to Council’s positions/pronouncements on some grave financial transgressions in the University purported to be discovered by the Due-Diligence Panel.
The former Pro-Chancellor and Chairman of Governing Council may further wish to recall the resolution and subsequent earlier request by our Union for the said due-diligence report, even as the Union called for its release to the University community.
The Union is worried by the delay in making available the said due-diligence report to the union and other stakeholders in the University, thereby allowing rumours to thrive on the financial health of the University, ASUU said.
Therefore, in line with the Union’s earlier resolve not to stay aloof in the unfolding corruption drama, the Union wishes to reaffirm its earlier demand for the due diligence report to enable her to take an informed position on the matter in the interest of the University”.
Trojan.com.ng can authoritatively reveal some specific cases of corrupt acts and fraud allegedly perpetrated by the former Vice-Chancellor. The alleged corruption activities rage from his approval of about N30 million Naira to the University’s Director of Entrepreneurship, Prof. Engr. Osadolar Odia, as palliative, even as Trojan.com.ng gathered that the same Prof. Odia has been unable to retire same and also refused to account for a huge sum of money from the sales of entrepreneurship books and materials produced by the division.
It is also contentious and controversial former Vice-Chancellor’s approval of about N90 million Naira TETfund money to the son of one Prof. Patrick Oviasuyi of the Department of Public Administration and a former director of the University’s Academic Planning Division for a study programme abroad. The said son of Prof. Oviasuyi who was recently employed by the Vice-Chancellor is still an unconfirmed staff.
In a similar manner, a total sum of N100 million was transferred from the various university accounts into the personal account of one Eugene Eraikhuemen, VC’s PA. Of this amount, a total sum of N26 million was allegedly transferred into the personal account of Eraikhuemen from various university internally generated revenue accounts and from other staff accounts. Out of this amount a total sum of N25 million was transferred by Eugene Eraikhuemen to the personal account of the VC and of Jane Onimawo, the wife of the VC.
In the 2-year period of (2017 and 2018), the former VC spent the total sum of N55 million as security vote instead of N24 million because the monthly security vote approval is N1 million per month. The VC also spent N62 million in 2017 and 2018 for local and foreign travels; an amount that cannot be defended. In November 2017, the VC bought a Toyota Camry Car of N19 million for himself without Council approval, and yet the amount was above his approval limit of N5 million.
while in office, Prof. Onimawo was alleged to have also authorized funds to be paid into the account of Dr H.O.T. lyawe an Ag. Director of AAU Consults to transfer the sum of N5 million into the Zenith bank account number 175969966, belonging to Chris Omo-lribhogbe to carry out unexplained activities.
Mrs. Onimawo, the wife of the former VC, also spent University funds of N7.1 million for the two years covering 2017 and 2018 for her own travels. It is not clear what all the monies illegally transferred from the various Ambrose Alli University, Ekpoma bank accounts into the accounts of Chris Omon lribhogbe and Eugene Eraikhuemen are meant for and those benefitting from the fraud.
The former VC was also been accused of engaging in ceaseless irregular employment in the university in defiance of the embargo on employment by the state government and the Governing Council of the University. Trojan.com.ng gathered that even in the face and during the COVID-19 pandemic lockdown the Vice-Chancellor still engaged in an employment spree by offering employment to certain persons in this period of financial lockdown without recourse to the Council.
Our findings revealed that the ex-while Vice-Chancellor ignored the decision and repeated directives to suspend Mr. Chris Omon-Iriogbe and Mr. Eugene as was decided and directed by the Council since the duo were allegedly involved in the abnormal financial transactions on behalf of the University.
In flagrant disregard to due process, the former VC authorized the disbursement of over N5 billion from TETFUND and NEEDs Assessment fund, an action that is still being challenged by the University’s Chapter of ASUU.
We also discovered that the former Vice-Chancellor has overpopulation the college of Medicine through admissions of (MBBS and Nursing) above the NUC and Council’s quota and his refusal to report same to council for over one your running. This has led to the withdrawal of the licence of the department by the medical and Dental council.
before his exit from office, the former Vice-Chancellor bought his official cars without Council approvals at the following rates: 2018 modern Camry at N22 million; two Prado Jeeps at N80 million. One of the Prados was purchased during this COVID-19 pandemic period. The VC’s wife’s Camry was bought at N19 million, alongside a Hilux backup for N15 million. The Council queried the VC’s temerity to whimsically purchase vehicles for himself and his wife without the University Council’s approval.
It was alleged that the week prior to the inauguration of the visitation panel the former VC withdrew through Chris Omo-Iribhogbe about N3 million and another N5 million as contingency funds. The VC was also alleged to have approved a contract for a company called Matefudia International Limited PV 109333 to do a job of N62 million and had the whole contract sum paid to Chris Omo-Iribhogbe account.
It was also reported that the former Vice-Chancellor through Engr. O. Odia and Chris Omo-Iribhogbe and Eugene Eraikhuemen withdrew the sum of N64 million as COVID-19 pandemic palliatives. In the 2017/2019 academic section, Prof Onimawo was allegedly said to have connived with his crony, Prof Osarodion Odia, a director of the entrepreneurship centre to withdraw the sum of N11 million for use by the Vice-Chancellor.
Aside from these, the former Vice-Chancellor was said to have approved illegal collection of N10,000 and N15,000 from materials and production students by the Head of Department, Engr. Lawrence who is a cousin to the Vice-Chancellor, is against N1000 approval for the other students.
Our sources revealed that the former Vice-Chancellor allegedly acquired the rented property housing the university liaison office at Boundary Road in Benin City with a whopping sum of N85 million. He was said to have reverted the property back to the university management when the news blew open that the Vice-Chancellor has been acquiring properties above his earnings.
“The former Vice-Chancellor cannot unilaterally purchase N85 million property on behalf of the University without the approval of the Council”, in the words of a member of the Visitation Panel. “All of these were done in flagrant disobedience to the normal University procedure”, he said.
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