Lawmakers absolve UNILAG’s management of corruption allegation
The House of Representatives committee on public procurement, which investigated corruption allegation against past and present principal officers of the University of Lagos (UNILAG), Akoka has absolved the vice chancellor, Prof Oluwatoyin Ogundipe and his predecessor, Rahamon Bello of any financial impropriety.
The 16-member committee, chaired by Oluwole Oke, representing Obokun/Oriade federal constituency in Osun State said contrary to the report of violations of extant laws and corruption allegations levelled against the university management, it found the institution’s financial records clean.
The report also said there is no evidence to support the allegation that the governing council chairman, Mr Wale Babalakin (SAN) planned to take over the headship of the institution’s tenders’ board. The committee, however, recommended a review of the composition of the university’s governing council, saying its current membership violates the federal character principle as there are no representatives from the south east, south south and north central.
On the collapsed seven-floor library under construction, the committee said the seven major stakeholders, including Babalakin, Ogundipe, representatives of Dutum Company Limited, Landmark Integrated Technologies Limited, CPMS Limited, Tubee Consult and Interactive Engineering Consult Limited made written submissions and gave relevant documents in the course of its assignment.
The council chairman and principal officers of the university management had been at loggerheads over alleged financial misappropriation and contract infractions. While the concerned officials were queried by Babalakin through the registrar, the embattled principal officers accused the council chairman of plan to head the school’s tenders’ board.
Worried by the development, the House of Representatives had mandated the procurement committee to wade in. The committee, which met with relevant stakeholders and visited the institution for on-the-spot assessment of the situation, blamed the crisis on communication gap between the university management and the governing council.
The report read in part: “The Committee found no infractions and breach of the provisions of the public procurement act 2007 in the award of contracts particularly the university new library project awarded to Messrs Dutum construction limited.
“The vice chancellor is the chief accounting officer of the university which is in line with section 20 of the public procurement Act 2007 and should continue to discharge this responsibility as expected by law, while the governing council should stick to its supervisory role of policy formulation and fund generation for the university. The council should not meddle in the internal management of the university.
“The committee found no evidence that the pro-chancellor and chairman of council intend or assumed the position of the chairman, tenders board. Such an action would have contravened the provisions of the public procurement act 2007.“The committee found that the pro-chancellor has consistently made donations to the university and it is a notable and commendable feat. All donations from the pro-chancellor should be acknowledged and receipted by the university.
“Both the council and university management are hereby advised to cooperate and work together for the progress of the institution.
“Although the committee could not establish any evidence of malfeasance or financial misappropriation by the management, the university should take proactive steps to improve its internal control mechanism and systems.“The composition of the council as presently constituted is not in tandem with the federal character principle. This should be escalated to the presidency and the federal character commission for corrective steps to be taken.”
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