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Echono warns against fraudsters as Fund does not award contracts

By Guardian Nigeria
27 October 2022   |   3:07 am
The Executive Secretary, Tertiary Education Trust Fund (TETFund), Arc. Sonny Echono, has warned the general public against the activities of fraudsters, who parade themselves as staff of TETFund.

TETFUND Executive Secretary Sonny Echono

The Executive Secretary, Tertiary Education Trust Fund (TETFund), Arc. Sonny Echono, has warned the general public against the activities of fraudsters, who parade themselves as staff of TETFund.

He noted that TETFund remains a Fund and not a procuring entity or a beneficiary institution. While the Fund has little funding for running of the office, it is not a contract entity and does not award contracts.
Echono added that when a good contractor is discovered, such a contractor is recommended to institutions, stressing that tertiary institutions decide what their needs are and the projects they want to implement.
“They forward those proposals to us and these are the things you see on our table there. We are gradually beginning to tell them that we should be operating online because we don’t even want any face to face contact.
“From this year, all our IT interventions are done online. Nobody comes here to talk about ICT. You do it online and we respond in real time. And that is part of improving our processes and transparency.”
Echono reiterated that TETFund does not determine the projects, institutions do as they choose their projects and forward same to TETFund for confirmation of the price and if it is in line with a particular intervention the institution is talking about.
“All the interventions in our beneficiary institutions are either approved by the Chief Executive, which is either the Vice Chancellor, the Provost or their own tenders’ board in the university, depending on the amount.
“They have their tenders’ board to approve the interventions but if it is beyond their approval, it is taken to the Federal Ministry of Education. When I was in the ministry, we used to approve a number of them but if it is beyond the approval threshold of the ministry, it goes to the Federal Executive Councils.”
Echono also decried the activities of rumour mongers and peddlers of fake news. He described them as evil men who go about impersonating people. According to him, TETFund is not the only government agency affected by the menace “but of course, TETFund is in the eye of the public.”
Adding: “I just read this morning that the DG of NAFDAC removed herself completely from all social media platforms, saying that a lot of people are impersonating her. So, that is what they are also doing to us.
“They are hacking emails and creating fake emails. They will give you a different phone number and put my picture. They are crooks going about and impersonating people. They will say they are friends of TETfund or that they have people in TETFund. They don’t talk about contracts but they talk about special interventions.
“They will promise going to TETFund and getting you additional money other than the one that you are entitled to because they know the man who is there and sometimes, they even defraud the heads of institutions.
“There are also situations where they forge our allocation letters or use forged letters from schools awarding contracts, fake contracts, they will claim that they have been given contract of billions of naira and they will use that one to say they are trying to sell the contract and innocent people who may not know will be giving them money.
“So, we have so many crooks in our system. We have been reporting them and some arrests have been made. Nigerians should beware. There are set down rules and procedures. We have a website and people that are designated full time, ask the right questions and do the right thing. How can somebody just come to Abuja and get you additional N2 billion for your school and you believe, and then, the person who is going to do this wants you to give him money first.
“So, people should not allow themselves to be fooled. However, it is unfortunate that people are taking the country for a ride. It is such a big shame. I know that conditions are difficult but at the same time, we must restore law and order. Those who are charged with the responsibility should take firm action because there are innocent people who are going to fall victim to this type of thing. We should avoid it.”

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