More details emerge on Ogundipe’s alleged financial misdemeanor
Documents from the governing council of University of Lagos (UNILAG) has revealed more details of alleged financial wrongdoings that led to the removal, last week, of the Vice Chancellor, Prof. Oluwatoyin Ogundipe.
The council, in the document obtained yesterday, also insisted that due process was followed in removing Ogundipe from office.It added that not only was the embattled VC sacked from office for financial recklessness, his removal was also due to his inability to discharge the functions of his office as a result of infirmity of the body or mind.
The document showed that the former vice chancellor had in response to the allegations, admitted that a firm of external auditors that looked into the books identified some cases of weakness in internal control but did not detect any fraud against him.
Specifically on alleged financial misconduct, the documents stated: “Prof. Ogundipe had barely settled into office as Vice Chancellor when we began to notice a lack of transparency under his management both at the University’s Finance and General Purpose Committee (F&GPC) and Council meetings.
“Prof. Ogundipe failed to share with Council and F&GPC management’s procurement and Tender Board activities. Ultimately things came to a head in 2018 when Council was forced to set up a Sub-Committee under one of its members, Dr. Saminu Dagari, an appointee of the Federal Government to review the university’s expenditure.
“This Sub-Committee worked for a period of six months. At the end of its investigation, the Committee made very serious findings that indicted Prof. Ogundipe and some of his management team. Amongst others, the Committee found as follows:
“a. Without Council approval and far in excess of his approval limits of N2.5m, Prof. Ogundipe as Vice Chancellor paid out N112, 462,990.63 to renovate the official living quarters of three principal staff. Prof. 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.
“None of this spending was brought to the knowledge of, or approved by Council in accordance with due process, the University Act and extant guidelines on Financial Regulations.
“Prof. 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 and did not receive Council approval at all.
“Prof. Ogundipe’s management spent the sum of N52, 080,000.00 on the purchase of two vehicles well above the University Tender Board’s threshold limit. This was achieved by a contract splitting device that is very illegal.
“Prof. Toyin Ogundipe’s management spent a total sum of N57, 921,581.00 on the foreign trips of himself and some of his management team. The Dagari committee found that the Vice Chancellor was able to approve these payments based on an illegal contract splitting device. The committee also found that local allowances were paid for these foreign trips in breach of the Financial Regulations of 1999.
“Between May 2017 and September 2018 Prof. 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 Prof. Ogundipe justified this payment as a security grant, this was never to the University Council’s knowledge or approval and the Dean received these monies at a time 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 Prof. Ogundipe became Vice Chancellor has denied that this is conventional practice.
“ 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, Dr Dagari’s committee found out that Prof. 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 Prof. 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.
“Prof. Toyin Ogundipe was given an opportunity to address these allegations. He has not denied any of these payments or spending. Rather, he has sought to justify them on the basis that he was in a position to approve these payments.”
The documents also showed that the embattled former vice chancellor admitted that a firm of external auditors that looked into the books of the institution did not detect any fraud.
He stated this in his written defence at a special meeting of the council, which considered the report of the committee that found him guilty of many financial infractions and other wrongdoings.
In a six-page response titled: “That University of Lagos may know peace: Submission of Prof. Oluwatoyin Ogundipe, to the Council at its special meeting on May 13, 2019, the embattled VC said: “The Pro-chancellor had authorised an external audit firm to look into the books of the university for which he paid from his personal account. The report of his external auditors had noted there were some weaknesses in some internal control but did not detect fraud.” Ogundipe however said that the composition of the sub-committee on finance was defective.
“Sub-committees by convention are usually given a time frame within which to report on their findings; none was given this committee. It is, therefore, no wonder that the committee spent over six months on the assignment, sat for over 40 times and in the process incurred a bill of over seven million naira by way of sitting allowance, hotel expenditure as well as feeding at meetings, 80 per cent of which went to Dr. Saminu Dagari. It is also important to point out here that the external audit firms appointed by the council for the regular one-year audit of the university’s finances only cost N5.2 million only,” the report added.
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