Nigeria

Senate investigates alleged financial misappropriations at University of Lagos

Worried by allegation of misappropriation of funds at the University of Lagos (UNILAG), the Senate Committee on Public Procurement at the weekend summoned stakeholders in the institution to unravel the cause of the financial crisis rocking the university.

Speaking with journalists at the weekend in Lagos, chairman of the committee, Wale Oke, noted that it was on a fact-finding mission pursuant to the resolution of the House, which mandated it to investigate the alleged infractions on provisions of Public Procurement Act 2007 and other financial issues.

Oke said that the allegation by the institution’s pro-Chancellor, Wole Babalakin, of financial misappropriation by management of the university was “very weighty and we felt that we should investigate his claims and that was what brought us here.”

Claiming that although the National Universities Commission (NUC) and the Federal Ministry of Education had already taken steps to resolve the issues, the committee had invited the stakeholders to resolve the issue and, “part of the things we established was that there was no clear understanding of the functions of both the council and the management of the university”.

Also disturbed by the rising cases of building collapses in the country, the Senate Committee on Public Procurement has summoned the contractor, Runsewe Olatunde and consultant, Oreoluwa Fadayomi, handling the UNILAG collapsed new library building to appear before it today.

Oke, who stated that the committee came to find facts on ground so that it can report to the House investigating the seven-storey building of the new library, added that the visit would determine whether the project would continue or not.

While leading other members of the panel, including Bode Ayorinde, Onyenweife Gabriel, Solomon Moreu, Sam Onuigbo, Abdullahi Gurin, Oke said: “We have drawn the attention of the university’s council members to the provisions of Section 20 of Procurement Act, that the accounting officer, who is the Vice Chancellor of the institution, has the mandate to manage, supervise, and ensure compliance with the Provision of Procurement Act.

“That has been stated clearly and am very happy that there are legal luminaries on the board of the council. Section 20 made it very clear, that it shall be immaterial whether he has delegated a person or group of persons to carry out one function or the other, that in case of any infraction, he shall be personally held liable. We have drawn his attention to this provision that henceforth he should take charge of this. If anything goes wrong, the government will hold him responsible and prosecute him.”

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