Presidential panel indicts UNILAG management of financial impropriety

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The Visitation Panel set up by President Muhammed Buhari visits the University of Lagos (UNILAG) in the wake of crisis between the then Governing Council of the institution and the management, in its final report has made allegation of financial impropriety and dereliction of responsibilities against the various officers of the institution.

Recall that President Muhammadu Buhari, in compliance with the provision of the Acts establishing all Federal tertiary institutions constituted the Visitation Panel to comprehensively review the performance of the University and make recommendations where necessary using specific Terms of Reference (TOR) and covering the periods, 2016-2020.

The 241-page report, though yet to be officially released, indicted various officers of the University for running an opaque administration that hid the finances of the University, contract splitting in their procurement of services, works and goods for the University; poor procurement practices without organizing bids, no tender board, incompetence and poor understanding of administrative procedures, among others.

The seven-member Presidential Visitation Panel headed by General Martin Luther Agwai (rtd), in the report, made allegations of financial impropriety against officers of the university beginning with the Vice-Chancellor, Prof Oluwatoyin Ogundipe, the Registrar, Mr Azeez Oladejo Esq, Mr Lawal among others.

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Besides, the Panel found the University in continuous breach of this Directive and Circular by maintaining accounts in Commercial Banks without the requisite written permission of the President, among others.

From the Memoranda that the Panel received and from presentations made, a number of people made strong allegations of gross misconduct against Professor Ogundipe personally and his management between 2017 and 2020.

According to the report, these allegations were made by Dr Babalakin, immediate past Pro-Chancellor and Chairman of Council; Engineer Tunde Oloko, immediate past Acting Director of Works of the University; Professor Oye-Adeniran, retired Professor of Medicine University of Lagos and Council member from 2016 to 2019; Dr Saminu Dagari, former Council member, 2017 to 2020; Dr Bayo Adaralegbe, former Council member, 2017 to 2020, and Mr Rotimi Sodimu, former Registrar and current Council member.

While many of the allegations against the Vice-Chancellor and his management were repeated in the Memoranda received from Council members like Dr Babalakin, Prof Oye Adeniran, Dr Saminu Dagari and Dr Bayo Adaralegbe, there were others from non-Council members. Engineer Tunde Oloko’s Memorandum was different in its details of how the University procurement system functioned under Professor Ogundipe’s management and how payments were disbursed from the University resources.

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The visitation panel in its executive summary recommended for the maintenance of proper checks and supervision of the finances of the University, the Internal Auditor can have the opportunity to report to Council in exceptional cases.

It added that Vice-Chancellors should continue to be appointed by Councils after due scrutiny of their personalities and antecedents to ensure that only the best occupy the post and offices of the Deputy Vice-Chancellors, Registrar, Bursar and Librarian should be recognised under the Act as part of the University Management.

The President Visitation panel tasked the Council to examine all allegations and issues brought before it and recommend appropriate sanctions where necessary.

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