N118m fraud: Staff petition dead SSANU chairman, treasurer

FUTO gate

Members of staff at the Federal University of Technology Owerri (FUTO) have petitioned the Independent Corrupt Practices and other related offences Commission (ICPC) over alleged fraud estimated around N118 million.

One of the subjects of the petition is the late Chairman of the Senior Staff Association of Nigerian Univerisites (SSANU), Mr Franklin Matthew over alleged embezzlement of funds in the association’s coffers.

The other object of the petition is the Treasurer of the union; Mr. Uche Nwokeji who along with Matthew were alleged to be shrouding financial transactions of the union in secrecy and unilaterally expending huge funds without approval of the union.

The aggrieved members of the union petitioned the antigraft body through a senior staff of the university, Mr Edison Ugwumba in a petition dated November 4, 2020 which was obtained by this newspaper.

It read in part: “Article 15(e) of the union provides that the Treasurer shall render financial account annually and also at the quadrennial delegate conference. Contrary to this provision, the Treasurer has deliberately refused to render account to members since the past four years he assumed office.

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This has kept members completely in the dark as to the financial state of the union.” Contacted, Nwokeji denied the allegations of embezzlement describing the alleged sum as ridiculous. He insisted that SSANU FUTO does not have such an amount of money and cannot generate N118m even in 10 years.

But the petitioner insisted that: “The late Chairman and the Treasurer kept spending the union’s money without any approval from either the branch executive committee or the congress of members.

The late Chairman and the Treasurer planned and purchased a 2004 Model Toyota Highlander official vehicle at an inflated cost of N7m when the market price of the vehicle was about N2.5m.”

The petition further alleged that since the death of the Chairman in June 2020, the Treasurer has refused to make the Acting Chairman, Mrs Agnes Nti and the Secretary, Mr Aku signatories to the union account. The petition noted that the tenure of the late Chairman and the branch executives including the Treasurer had elapsed on the 5th of October, 2020.

“But I was reliably informed that since the expiration of his tenure on October 5th, 2020, the Treasurer has single-handedly and arbitrarily withdrawn the sum of over N15million from the union’s accounts.

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While listing several other areas of misdemeanour, the petitioner called upon the ICPC to thoroughly investigate the activities of the Treasurer between 2016 and 2020 especially as it affects the finances of SSANU.

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