Over the years, the fight against corruption has been focused on political office holders; this has paved way for various degrees of monumental frauds to be carried out by Vice-Chancellors of Universities as well as Rectors of Polytechnics who have leveraged on the ineptness of anti-corruption agencies to checkmate their activities.
This is the perfect description of Professor Abubakar Musa Kundiri who was appointed as Vice-Chancellor of Federal University Wukari, Taraba State in 2016 by the erstwhile President Goodluck Jonathan as it appears that he may be paying an unscheduled visit to the office of the Independent Corrupt Practices and other Related Offences (ICPC) over an alleged embezzlement of over N2,000,000,000 (Two Billion Naira) and other fraudulent activities carried by him and his cohorts in the institution till date.
SecretReporters gathered that the school as well as the Wukari community who organized a gala night in order to give the VC a rousing welcome were shocked to the bone marrow to discover that the VC upon resumption immediately obtained permission from the University’s governing council via a memo to review the appointment of all staff member in the guise of “Proper Placement” at the point of entry which contravenes the Federal government circular of 22nd October 2013 with Ref. FCSC/CHMN/CL/17/VOL.1/36 tagging Proper Placement as an aberration.
This according to our source resulted in the downward review of 95% of the entire staff salaries in the varsity resulting in the loss of between N50,000 to N200,000 per month by staff members even though they have fulfilled the mandatory two (2) years probation period and their appointments confirmed as stipulated by the law.
It was also gathered that this move by the VC which took effect from November 2017 did not get the approval of the relevant MDA’s like the Office of the Head of Service, Budget Office, Federal Ministry of Finance, among others although he claimed to have sort the consent of the Federal Ministry of Education and the National Universities Commission (NUC).
In a petition to the ICPC which is in possession of this online news medium, It was alleged that despite the massive cuts in staffs salaries since November 2017 there was no reduction in the monthly allocation given to the University by the Federal government for personnel emoluments as the allocations for the month of March, April, May, June and July still stood at N181,445,263.60 each while in August, September and October the university received an increased allocation of N184,193,948.78 respectively for staff emoluments despite the fact that staff salaries were continually slashed.
Also in 2018, the University received an increase in allocation from the Federal government for personnel emoluments from the initial N184,193,948.78 (One Hundred and Eighty Four Million One Hundred and Ninety Three Thousand Nine Hundred and Forty Eight Naira Seventy Eight Kobo) to N241, 745, 878 .64 (Two Hundred and Forty One Million Seven hundred and Forty Five Thousand Eight Hundred and Seventy Eight Naira Sixty Four Kobo) each month from January to December 2018.
Sources revealed that this nefarious practice being carried out by the VC has seen him handily embezzling between N15 million to N80 million monthly due to constant salary cuts amounting to over N1,800,000,000,000 (One Billion Eight Hundred Million Naira) in just 18 months.
In a bid to cover up his fraudulent deals, it was alleged that the letters issued to staff members and also kept in their files by the management for record purposes were removed under the directive of the VC. However, most staff members still possess a copy of the letter issued to them.
Clearly in what may seem as a well-coordinated embezzlement blueprint to avoid detection by anti-corruption agencies, it was also alleged that Prof. Kundiri in connivance with the Bursar Mr Joshua Olatunji and the Director Audit, Mr Milaham James, using the Government Integrated Financial Management Information System (GIFMIS) platform directed that excess funds accrued from the massive salary cuts should be labeled as Internally Generated Revenue (IGR) and channeled into an account belonging to FU Wukari Consult Ltd.
Fully aware that external auditors do not audit IGR accounts since the funds are generated internally, the Zenith bank account number 1012897242 belonging to FU Wukari Consult Ltd which had very meager amounts hitherto allegedly became the conduit pipe through which extra funds accumulated from the illegal Proper Placement are sent out of the University’s coffers since November 2017.
Findings revealed that in January 27th, 2018, over N15,820,000 (Fifteen Million Eight Hundred and Twenty Thousand Naira) was deposited by the VC into the FU Wukari Consult Ltd account through the GIFMIS platform in the guise of payment for rent and other municipal charges.
On February 27th, 2018, another N36,118,411.54 (Thirty-Six Million One Hundred and Eighteen Thousand Four Hundred and Eleven Naira Fifty Four Kobo) was lodged in the same account while on March 29th and April 2018, the sum of N40,900,906.09 (Forty Million Nine Hundred Thousand Nine Hundred and Six Naira Nine Kobo) and N50,976,999.98 (Fifty Million Nine Hundred and Seventy Six Thousand Nine Hundred and Ninety Nine Naira Ninety Eight Kobo) were also stashed into the same account by Kundiri and his cohort.
Furthermore, it was revealed that on July 31st, 8th August, 31st August and 28th September 2018 a whopping sum of N73,159,166.65 (Seventy Three Million One Hundred and Fifty Nine Thousand One Hundred and Sixty Six Naira Sixty Five Kobo), N10,000,000 (Ten Million Naira) deposited by one Adeola M. Adeleru, N81,901,451.36 (Eighty One Nine Hundred and One Thousand) and N42,000,000 (Forty Two Million Naira) respectively were also diverted into the aforementioned account.
These illegal deposits and salary cuts which according to our source who is a high ranking staff member in the bursary department are allegedly still being carried out by Prof. Kundiri and his partners in crime and has plunged over 95% of the school’s workforce who had programmed their social and economic lives in tandem with their salaries between 2011-2017 and collected loans from the bank into untold hardship resulting in Marriage divorces, ejection from homes, inability to pay school fees amongst others.
This online news medium also garnered that due to the unending inhumane treatment being meted on the school’s community, the Senior Staff Association of Nigerian University (SSANU) on May 2018 filed a suit against the Governing Council and management of the University at the National Industrial Court in Makurdi, Benue State, after failing in diplomatic negotiations with the management over the illegal activities of the dubious Professor.
There are speculations that the Academic Staff Union of University (ASUU), Non Academic Staff Union (NASU) and NAAT which are supposed to be the representatives of the University’s workforce may have been compromised by the Vice-Chancellor and his cohorts as they seem to have taken an oath of silence over the illegal actions of Professor Abubakar Musa Kundiri.
When contacted for his reaction to the allegation, the personal assistant to the Vice-Chancellor claimed that he was not available to respond but will call back, a few minutes later one Daniel Likam called on the authority of the VC but immediately hung up after our reporter identified himself and gave him brief part of the report. Two weeks after, the VC was yet to respond.
To be continued…