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Five AOCOED staff forcefully retired over alleged financial fraud

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Lagos State Governor, Akinwunmi Ambode

Lagos State Governor, Akinwunmi Ambode

• Unions dissatisfied with verdict
• Dismissed unionist, writes Ambode

Five principal officers of Adeniran Ogunsanya College of Education (AOCOED), Ijanikin, Lagos, indicted for financial misappropriation, have been directed to proceed on compulsory retirement, by the school’s governing council.
 
The officers were indicted for reckless spending, lack of competence in the management of human and materials resources, abandoning due process, awarding contracts without letters of award, disbursing funds for contracts not executed, approving funds for conferences without evidence of attendance, among others.
 
Some of the affected staff members include, former provost of the school, Mr. Bashorun Wasiu; deputy registrar, Mr. Bola Disu; deputy bursar, Mr. Ipaye Olayiwola; registrar, Mr. Coker Olumuyiwa; and bursar, Mr. Oyewolu S.B., among others. It would be recalled the school’s chapters of the Colleges of Education Academic Staff Union, (COEASU), and Senior Staff Union in Colleges of Education in Nigeria (SSUCOEN), have been on the council’s neck over the matter.

Last week, they threatened to disrupt activities in the college if the council refuses to make appropriate pronouncements on the accused officers within two weeks. They alleged that the recommendations sent to the governor for approval, were unnecessarily delayed, thereby fuelling speculations about plans to shield the indicted officers from punishment.

The forced retirement was contained in the latest school’s bulletin, a copy of which was obtained by The Guardian.It read: “The council found the officers culpable of financial misappropriation, administrative incompetence and general mal-administration, and directed that they proceed on compulsory retirement with effect from Wednesday, August 10, 2016.”
 
Three out of the five principal officers were also directed to, in addition to proceeding on compulsory retirement, refund the sum of N468, 000; N2, 904, 500 and N3, 580, 000 respectively.The Thursday, August 31, 2016 dated bulletin stated that “the council at its fifth 2016 Emergency Meeting, held on Wednesday August 10, 2016, considered the report of its Staff Disciplinary Committee, and found the officers culpable.” Thus it’s ruling that they proceed on compulsory retirement.

In confirming the forced retirement, the Special Adviser to the Governor on Education, Mr. Obafela Bank-Olemoh, who had earlier said that government would react to the issue at the appropriate time simply said: “I told you we will respond at the right time, Governor Akinwumni Ambode’s administration would not cover or support fraudulent acts.”
 
On his part, Chairman of SSUCOEN, Comrade Wunmi Ombugadu, “We are happy to some extent because the government and the council have proved that they are not ready to aid and abet corruption. But the money they affected officers were asked to refund is too small. We are talking about N1.5b. The amount they were asked to refund will not solve our (the union’s) problems and that of the college.”
 
She added that the judgment would serve as a deterrent to both sitting and incoming officers to tread with caution, and follow due process in whatever they do. “With this, corruption is likely to end in AOCOED.” For the Chairman of COEASU, Comrade Michael Avosetinyen, “The council has done the needful, but we are not fully satisfied with the judgment because it did not address our problems financially. The money they were asked to refund is too small when compared to what was allegedly squandered, and the people whose future has been mortgaged, as well as the retirees who cannot access their pension. We are leaving everything for concerned Nigerians and civil society groups to judge the decision of the governing council.”

 
Relatedly, an ex-staff of the college and former chairman of the school’s branch of Non-Academic Staff Union (NASU), Comrade Anrinle Ahmed Adekunle, is appealing to the governor to reverse the termination of his appointment.Adekunle whose appointment was terminated on August 3, 2016, by the institution’s governing council, was accused of being involved with a firm, Rinllanded Nigeria Limited Company, as a shareholder.
 
He was consequently indicted and dismissed after an investigation by the “Special Ad-hoc Disciplinary Committee of Council on Staff Matters.” Part of his termination letter read, “The governing council at its reconvened second 2016 regular meeting, critically examined the report of the Ad-hoc Disciplinary Committee and found you culpable as regards your involvement with Rinllanded Nigeria Limited Company.”

Adekunle, who accused the governing council of being unjust to him, also wondered why he was sacked over a “non-issue” while others that committed graver offences were spared.He added, “What was responsible for the termination of my appointment, according to the council, was an allegation that I have a share in a company called Rinllandded Nigeria Limited, a company that has solved social and economic problems of the college, creating employment for the students, generating revenue for the college, and by extension, serving as an academic practical instructional aids to students of Lagos State University (LASU). The council never accused me of anything in relation to my job schedule.”


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