UNILAG crisis: Ogundipe dragged before EFCC

Professor Oluwatoyin Ogundipe
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The sacked Vice-Chancellor of the University of Lagos, Professor Oluwatoyin Ogundipe and the new Acting Vice-Chancellor, Professor Folashade Ogunshola have been dragged before the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC).

The petitioner is Professor Boniface Oye-Adeniran.

He is a Retired Professor of Obstetrics and Gynecology, College of Medicine, University of Lagos ; Member, University of Lagos Appointments and Promotions Board, 2014 to 2018; Member, University of Lagos Governing Council, 2017 to 2019 and Past National President, Nigerian Medical Association, 1993 to 1997.

Joined alongside Ogundipe and Ogunshola in the petition dated 21st, August 2020 and marked as received on Tuesday, 25th August, 2020 at the EFCC Lagos Zonal Office are Mr Lekan Lawal, Bursar of the university, and Dr James Akamu, Director of Procurement.

Excerpts of the petition titled reads thus:

“I retired as a Professor of Obstetrics and Gynecology, College of Medicine, University of Lagos where I retired in 2019. Up until my retirement I was on the Governing Council of the University where I worked with Professor Oluwatoyin Ogundipe, first in his capacity as Deputy Vice Chancellor, and as Vice Chancellor of the University, from November 2017 up till July 2019, when I retired. I also represented the College of Medicine on the University’s Appointments and Promotions Board between 2014 and 2018. Earlier on in my career, I was National President of the Nigerian Medical Association between 1993 to 1997. The facts that I therefore provide in this Petition are facts directly within my knowledge in my capacity as staff, Appointments and Promotions Board and as Governing Council member of the University of Lagos, between 2017 and 2019 when Professor Toyin Ogundipe served as Deputy Vice Chancellor and Vice Chancellor of the University. The Petition asserts various acts of financial crime directly committed by Professor Oluwatoyin Ogundipe, Professor Folashade Ogunshola, Mr Lekan Lawal and Dr James Akamu. Professor Toyin Ogundipe assumed office as Vice Chancellor of the University in November 2017 and was removed from office by the Governing Council of the University on 12th August 2020. Mr Lekan Lawal is the University Bursar and Dr James Akamu is the University Procurement Officer.

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“Council at its meeting of 5th September 2018 constituted a Committee to investigate the University’s expenditure under Professor Ogundipe as Vice Chancellor. Among others, the Committee found against Professor Ogundipe’s management that, without Tender Board, Finance and General Purpose Committee and Governing Council knowledge, approval, and far in excess of his approval limits of N2,500,000.00 Professor Ogundipe in his capacity as Vice Chancellor of the University of Lagos, in direct violation of extant Regulations of the University and the country. In other cases, awards made by Professor Ogundipe or under his leadership did not satisfy requirements of the Public Procurement Act.

“1. a total sum of N112, 462,990.63 to renovate the official living quarters of three principal staff. Professor Ogundipe approved the sum of N49,434,038.45 to renovate the Vice Chancellor’s lodge where he resided; the sum of N41,817,658.32 was paid out for renovation works of the Bursar’s official residence while the sum of N16, 123, 509.00 was spent on renovating the official residence of the immediate past Registrar of the University. Also, the sum of N3, 733,494.85 was spent renovating the official residence of the Chancellor while the sum of N1,354,290.00 was spent renovating the Pro Chancellor’s official residence. It is important to note that Professor Ogundipe’s approval limit as Vice Chancellor is N2, 500,000.00. None of this spending was brought to the knowledge of, or received the approval of the Governing Council as provided in the University Act and extant guidelines on Financial Regulations.

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“2. Professor Toyin Ogundipe’s management spent a total sum of N57,272,050.44 on waste management and janitorial services in breach of procurement laws and practices. These payments were not evidenced by any contract, did not receive Council approval, did not go through the University Tender Board at all and did not comply with the Public Procurement Act.

“3. Professor Toyin Ogundipe’s management spent the sum of N52,080,000.00 on the purchase of two vehicles well above his personal limit of N2,500,000.00 and the University Tender Board’s threshold limit of N50,000,000.00. This was achieved by a contract splitting device that is illegal and contrary to the Public Procurement Act of 2007.

“4. Professor Toyin Ogundipe’s management spent a total sum of N57,921,581.00 on the foreign trips embarked upon by himself and some of his management team. The Committee found that Professor Ogundipe was able to approve these payments based on an illegal contract splitting device. The Committee also found that local running allowances were paid for these foreign trips in breach of the Financial Regulations of 2009 and clarifications by National Salaries, Incomes and Wages Commission in 2015.

“5. Between May 2017 and September 2018 Professor Toyin Ogundipe’s management paid out a total sum of N41,580,300.00 to the Dean of Student Affairs through a monthly payment of N2,445,900.00. Even though Professor Ogundipe justified this payment as a security grant, this was never to the University Council’s knowledge or its approval and the Dean received these monies even when students were not on campus or when lecturers were on strike. Furthermore, the former Dean of Students Affairs who served in this position before Professor Ogundipe became Vice Chancellor wrote officially to the Council, denying that this was conventional practice, a justification that Professor Ogundipe had put up to Council

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“6. Council approved a budget in the sum of N85,000,000.00 for the University’s 2018 convocation ceremonies based on management’s budget, proposed by the Vice Chancellor, Professor Toyin Ogundipe. The Committee found out that Professor Ogundipe’s management significantly exceeded this approved budget by the sum of N9,739,977.89. In other words, without any Council approval or knowledge Professor Ogundipe spent the sum of N94,739,977.89 on the 2018 convocation as against the sum of N85,000,0000.00 that Council approved. We believe that this was a fraudulent act.

“7. Professors Ogundipe and Folashade Ogunshola were part of the award of the contract for the University’s new library project valued at N1.9Billon that did not follow due process in the changing the terms of the contract awarded without the approval of the University of Lagos Governing Council and without the approval of the Federal Executive Council that approved the contract in the first place, ultimately causing the collapse of this building in 2019 while under construction

“8. Furthermore, the University’s Management under Prof Toyin Ogundipe awarded significant contracts, or paid or caused/instructed payment for these contracts, without bringing these to the attention of, or obtaining approval of the University Tender’s Board, Finance and general Purpose Committee or Council, as provided for in the University Financial Regulations and contrary to due process.

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