The Federal Government’s audit report has revealed irregularities of more than N1.2bn in 2015, 2016 and 2017 finances of the Federal University of Technology, Owerri (FUTO), Imo State, and the University of Abuja (UniAbuja)
The 2017 report from the Office of the Auditor General of the Federation titled, ‘Auditor General’s Annual Report on the Accounts of the Federation of Nigeria 2017,’ showed that FUTO had more than N611m irregularities in its expenses between 2016 and 2017, while UNIABUJA had over N560m for 2015.
The report noted that the vice-chancellors of the universities during the years under review must be made to answer for the money unaccounted for.
For FUTO, the report highlighted about 10 areas where there were financial infractions between 2016 and 2017.
These ranged from “payments without raising payment vouchers put at N43,543,129; payment of unapproved allowances put at N244,325,021, and payment to contractor for jobs not done at N34,252,304.”
The report partly read:
“During the periodic checks conducted at the Federal University of Technology, Owerri, for the period January 1, 2016 to December 31, 2017, the following were observed; payments without raising payment vouchers – N43,543,129.34. Payments totalling N43,543,129.34 were made without raising payment vouchers, in violation of Financial Regulation 601 which provides that payment vouchers must be raised before any payment is made.
“Response from the university on the above issue failed to address the issue.
“The recommendation is that the vice-chancellor has been requested to account for the sum of N43,543,129. Also, sanctions stated in financial regulation 3106 should be imposed on the vice-chancellor.
“Also, payment of unapproved allowances put at N244,325,021.26. It was observed from sampled payment vouchers that a total of N244,325,021.26 was paid to staff as allowances for recharge cards, council incentives, security shift, contract addition allowances, etc., from personnel cost between 2016 and 2017. Documents conveying approval for such payments from the National Salaries, Incomes and Wages Commission could not be made available during the periodic check.”
For the University of Abuja, the report noted that the institution had unaccounted payments put at N17,924,585; payment of unapproved allowances at N84,748,382, among other infractions.
The report added:
“During the periodic checks of the University of Abuja, for the 2015 financial year, the following observations were made. One, unaccounted payments – N17, 924,585; 27 payment vouchers totalling N17,924,585 were paid to a staff of the university for printing services and jobs. The amount should have been made direct to the University Bookshop or University Printing Press rather than personal account of the officer.
“However, there was no record of utilisation of the various amounts collected by the payee in order to ascertain transparency, probity and accountability of the transactions. Our recommendation is that the vice-chancellor is required to account for the sum of 17,924,585 and forward evidence to me for confirmation.
“Also, payment of unapproved allowances is put at N84,748,382. Furthermore, there is diversion of funds through fictitious contract which is put at N23,921,250.”
A civil society, Paradigm Leadership Support Initiative, while reacting to the report, asked the Independent Corrupt Practices and other related offences Commission and Economic and Financial Crimes Commission to investigate the universities and recover allegedly misused funds.
The PLSI Executive Director, Olusegun Elemo, said in a statement,
“Anti-corruption agencies, particularly the ICPC and the EFCC, should investigate the transactions and recover the money and return it to the federal treasury.
“The university authorities should also ensure strict compliance with relevant fiscal provisions and procurement laws in the implementation of new contracts.”
When asked for comment, spokeswoman for FUTO, Mrs Uche Nwaelue, asked our correspondent to forward to her a copy of the report, while promising to get back to our correspondent.
However, she had yet to get back to our correspondent as of the time of filing this report.
The spokesman for UNIABUJA, Dr Habib Yakoob, could not be reached for comment on Tuesday as his line rang out.
Nigeria records 304 new Covid-19 cases, toll now 44,433
The Nigeria Centre for Disease Control (NCDC) has confirmed 304 new cases of COVID-19 in the country, bringing the total number of COVID-19 infection to 44,433.
The NCDC made this known via its verified Twitter handle on Tuesday.
“304 new cases of #COVID19Nigeria; FCT-90 Lagos-59 Ondo-39 Taraba-18 Rivers-17 Borno-15 Adamawa-12 Oyo-11 Delta-9 Edo-6 Bauchi-4 Kwara-4 Ogun-4 Osun-4 Bayelsa-3 Plateau-3 Niger-3 Nasarawa-2 Kano-1.”
304 new cases of #COVID19Nigeria;
Bristow Helicopters sacks 100 pilots and engineers
No fewer than 100 pilots and engineers have been sacked by Bristow Helicopters.
This is coming barely 24 hours after Air Peace sacked scores of pilots across its fleet while slashing staff salaries by up to 40 per cent.
This was contained in a statement released by the airline company on Tuesday, August 4.
The company disclosed the workers were layed off due to the effect of the Coronavirus pandemic on its operations.
The aviation company which described the sack as “painful”, said it engaged with the National Association of Aircraft Pilots and Engineers (NAAPE) to negotiate a fair and equitable redundancy compensation for those affected.
The statement partly read;
“This decision has not been made lightly, but having considered the state of the business and the very serious constraints caused by the spread of the COVID-19 disease and the downturn in the oil and gas market, the company must now take this painful, but decisive step to ensure the continuity of its business and delivery of essential services to its clients.
“One of these measures includes the right-sizing of the business to ensure that the company has the optimal level of personnel to continue the safe delivery of its services to its clients, whilst allowing the appropriate capacity for future growth.
“Accordingly, and with much regret, the company has taken the very difficult decision to release over 100 pilots and engineers (both National and Expatriates) over the next couple of weeks.”
Texas man jailed for spending Covid-19 loans on lamborghini, strippers
Lee Price III, a Texas man who spent a $200,000 Lamborghini Urus with COVID-19 loans and the and the rest of the cash on strippers, got a slower ride to jail on Tuesday, August 4.
This was after US authorities arrested him for using $1.6 million in government pandemic aid to go on a spending spree.
Lee Price III, 29, was charged with fraud after he secured two government loans under the Paycheck Protection Program to pay employees he did not have, the Justice Department said in a statement.
Instead, he spent the funds on lavish goods like a sports car and a Rolex watch, as well as real estate, an F-350 pickup truck, and thousands of dollars at Houston strip clubs, the statement said.
Price secured two loans: Price Enterprises Holdings allegedly received more than $900,000, while 713 Construction was approved for over $700,000.
Neither firms has employees and “the individual listed as CEO on the 713 Construction loan application died in April 2020, a month before the application was submitted,” according to the complaint.
Congress approved the PPP program in late March to help small businesses survive the coronavirus pandemic, granting loans that could be forgiven if they were used to pay wages, rent and utilities.
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