Established with a mandate to research genetic improvement, production, processing, and marketing of tropical fruits, vegetables, spices, other medicinal and aromatic plants of nutritional and economic importance, the National Horticultural Research Institute, with its headquarter in Ibadan may have deviated from its primary assignment as findings reveal that the institute allegedly engages in the pilfering of public funds.
According to the 2018 Audit report of the Auditor General of the Federation as seen by SecretReporters, while NIHORT got queried for paying a mobilization fee of 20% of the contract sum against the 15% required by the law in a N30.2 Million payment made in favor of three consultants for skill acquisition and empowerment on Horticultural value chain in Delta, Ebonyi and Oyo state, without following due process, the Oyo based Research Institute, already had its operations shrouded with corruption as another sum of N2,080,000 was discovered to have been paid for the supply of 10liters of diesel without a local purchase order, evidence of a functional oil dump, store receipt voucher or evidence of the diesel been issued to the appropriate quarters found.
Arguably, under no form of supervision the institute, we further learned, violated yet another Financial law as investigations reveal that it made advances in excess to its staff totaling N4,531,900 (Four Million, Five Hundred and Thirty-One Thousand Nine Hundred Naira) as against the approved threshold of 200,000 (Two Hundred Thousand Naira).
With no intent on soft-pedaling in its looting spree, the National Horticultural Research Institute from the audit document also paid 8 of its staff a total of N1,831,300 (One Million, Eight Hundred, and Thirty-One Thousand, Three Hundred Naira) on 23/3/2018 for Re-completion of 12 new offices at NIHORT headquarters Ibadan. While a staff received N750,000 (Seven Hundred and Fifty Thousand Naira) on 28/2/2018 for stashers in the institute’s farmland, another received N393,600 (Three Hundred and Ninety-Three Thousand Six Hundred Naira) on 13/11/17 without any official description.
Another jaw-dropping payment of N560,000 ( Five Hundred and Sixty Thousand Naira) to staff for the purchase of an LG Air-Conditioner was also uncovered followed by the supply of solar lamps, items which should have been in a single contract but was instead awarded to 25 staff members and the sum of N5,000,000,000 ( Five Million Naira) doled out to each, an act which reeks of fraud.
The report further showed that five other staff also received N997,000 (Nine Hundred and Ninety-Seven Thousand Naira) for the rehabilitation of the internal road network in the institute.
Following these irregularities, The Executive Director of the National Horticultural Research Institute (NIHORT) Ibadan, Dr. Abayomi Olaniyan after playing dumb to several calls by the Auditor General of the Federation in 2018 we learned was mandated to account for and recover both the sum of N32,375,000 (Thirty-Two Million, Three Hundred and Seventy-Five Thousand Naira) paid to the contractors and N4,531,900 (Four Million, Five Hundred and Thirty-One Thousand Nine Hundred Naira) paid to its staff or be made to face the law.