By Mustapha Muhammad with Punch report

The Federal Government’s annual audit report has uncovered financial irregularities of over N896m in the accounts of seven recently established federal universities.

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’, obtained by Punch Newspaper, which indicted the universities for the years 2015 and 2016, recommended that the vice-chancellors of the respective institutions during  years under review be made to answer for the monies unaccounted for.

The indicted federal universities are Federal University, Wukari, Taraba State; Federal University, Dutsin-Ma, Katsina State; Federal University, Lafia, Nasarawa State; Federal University, Oye-Ekiti, Ekiti State; Federal University, Birnin-Kebbi, Kebbi State; Federal University, Dutse, Jigawa State; and Federal University, Lokoja, Kogi State.

They are among the nine federal universities established by former President Goodluck Jonathan’s administration in 2011.

For the federal universities in Wukari, Dutsin-Ma, Oye-Ekiti, and Birnin-Kebbi, the report listed irregularities totalling N754m.

The report said, “During the periodic check of the Federal University Wukari, for the year 2015 and 2016, the following were observed; One, violation of E-payment policy – payments were made to officers who were not the direct beneficiaries amounting to N17,924,800 in contrast to the electronic payment policy of the Federal Government.

“The recommendation is that the vice-chancellor is required to account for the sum of N17,924,800 on account of non-compliance with the above policy. Also, there was misapplication of N2,091,425.”

At the Federal University Dutsin-Ma, Katsina State, the report noted that between January and December 2016, rent recoveries of N31,461,559 was unaccounted for. It therefore said appropriate sanctions stated in Financial Regulation 3106 should be invoked on the vice-chancellor, while noting that there was also irregular payment of N8,437,595 as furniture allowance.

The report added, “For the period check conducted at the Federal University, Oye-Ekiti, Ekiti State, for the period ended 31st December, 2016, the following were observed; non-remittance of internally generated revenue put at N24,812,174. The risk is loss of revenue by the Federal Government and the management’s response to my query is not tenable.

“The recommendation is that the vice-chancellor is required to immediately remit the sum of N24,812,174 being 25 per cent of the IGR into the Consolidated Revenue Fund. Also there was irregular sponsorship for International Academic Training put at N29,613,025.”

At the Federal University Birnin-Kebbi, Kebbi State, the report noted that between January 2015 and December 2016, N67,028,049 was paid for an abandoned contract, while payment for work not done stood at N17,584,612.

It added, “Also, there was award of contract without following due process put at N509,469,337. Furthermore, there was payment of unapproved allowances put at N50,993,125. The sanction stipulated in financial regulation 3106 should be imposed on the vice-chancellor. The management’s responses to the above issues did not address the issues.”

The report added that for the universities in Dutse and Lokoja, there were irregularities amounting to over N142m.

It stated, “During the periodic checks of Federal University Dutse, Jigawa State, the following observations were made; payment without payment voucher put at N7,493,260. Also, there was an irregular payment to a former vice-chancellor put at N15,868,917. Furthermore, there was purchase without an evidence of delivery put at N8,249,600. There was also overpayment of N1,502,381 to a contractor.

“During the periodic checks of the Federal University Lokoja, Kogi State, the following were observed; non-remittance of internally generated revenue put at N61,930,601. Also, there was payment of unapproved allowances put at N50,350,728. The recommendation is that the vice-chancellor is required to recover the wrongly paid allowances and remit to the CRF.”

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