Diverted Funds: SERAP Seeks Probe Of Federal University Lokoja.

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The Socio-Economic Rights and Accountability Project (SERAP) has called on President Muhammadu Buhari to direct the Attorney General of the Federation and Minister of Justice, Abubakar Malami, and appropriate anti-corruption agencies to investigate allegations of missing public funds. The organisation said the N300billion missing funds documented in the 2017 audited report by the Auditor General of the Federation (AGF) were either mismanaged, diverted or stolen.

SERAP, in a series of tweets via its official Twitter handle, revealed that the management of Federal University Lokoja failed to remit internally generated revenue for 2015 and 2016. Based of the Auditor General of the Federation’s report, the Federal University Lokoja management also diverted N4.5million from the institution’s account with Central Bank of Nigeria into private accounts. “The Federal University Lokoja, Kogi State, reportedly failed to remit internally generated revenue of ₦61,930,601.95 for 2015 and 2016 to the authorities.

The University also failed to remit ₦10,198,500.00 from contract registration, sale of asset, and rent for this period. “The Federal University Lokoja, Kogi State, also allegedly diverted ₦4,551,787.00 from the University’s account with the CBN into two private account numbers with the Heritage Bank: 1000493514 and 1000493349. The Auditor-General of the Federation wants the money returned.

“The Federal University Lokoja, Kogi State also reportedly collected ₦5,040,444.00 from the University’s Post UTME Fees First Bank A/C with Account No. 2018447343 on 15th September, 2015, without any documentation as to the beneficiary of the withdrawal. “The Federal University Lokoja, Kogi State also reportedly paid ₦5,249,460.00 into a Diamond Bank Account No. 0011525942, a private account of the Vice-Chancellor to renovate his rented residence, contrary to existing guidelines. The Auditor-General wants the money returned.

The Federal University Lokoja, Kogi State also reportedly paid ₦50,350,728.48 to some staff as professional allowances without any approval. ₦657,274,348.51 was also paid as student’s ratio allowances but these allowances were already consolidated in the staff salary,” SERAP alleged in series of tweets.

SERAP gave government 14 days within which to order Malami and the anti-corruption agencies to promptly investigate “the extent and patterns of widespread and endemic corruption in the ministries, departments, and agencies, MDAs, indicted in the audited report. In the letter dated July 4, 2020, and signed by SERAP Deputy Director, Kolawole Oluwadare, the organization said the 2017 audited report reveals grim allegations of mismanagement, diversion, and stealing of public funds, as well as unaccounted-for spending.

It said the report suggests a grave violation of the public trust, and that the indicted MDAs and the National Assembly lack effective and credible internal processes to prevent and combat corruption. According to SERAP, “Investigating and prosecuting the alleged grand corruption documented by the AGF would improve the chances of success of your government’s oft-repeated commitment to fight corruption and end the impunity of perpetrators. It will improve the integrity of MDAs, serve the public interest, as well as improve Nigerians’ access to public services and goods. “Any failure to promptly investigate the allegations and prosecute suspected perpetrators would breach Nigeria’s anti-corruption legislation, including the Public Procurement Act, the 1999 Nigerian Constitution (as amended) and the country’s obligations including under the UN Convention against Corruption and the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights to which Nigeria is a state party.”

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