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How N20,000 condolence purse made me suspect, by IMT rector

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Rector of the Institute of Management and Technology (IMT), Enugu, Prof. Austin Nweze, has revealed how he became a crime suspect over a N20,000 condolence purse he got from the Academic Staff Union of Polytechnics (ASUP) during his mother’s burial.

Following the recent dismissal of five IMT lecturers, he told The Guardian that the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) had granted him bail on self-recognition over the money after his statement was obtained under caution.

Nweze, who became rector of the polytechnic in 2016, said his invitation and detention by the anti-graft agency followed a petition from the local chapter of ASUP who accused him of taking bribe to destabilise the union and victimise the executive for joining in the national strike of the body in November last year.

He explained: “I lost my mother in September 2017. She was buried in November 24, 2017. I am a member of ASUP and I have been contributing.

As at December that year, I had contributed over N100,000. So, as member of ASUP, the union came for condolence and in its condolence message enclosed N20,000. That money came by a cheque.

“When the matter of the management of the school started with the local chapter of ASUP, they wrote a petition to the EFCC that the rector was bribed with N20,000 by ASUP. They said that they gave me the money in cheque.

“I was interrogated. Luckily, I was able to bring the burial brochure of my mother. I was fortunate enough to get the minutes of the meeting of ASUP where they decided to give me N20,000 as condolence purse and the record where I contributed over N113,000 as a member. I took all these things to the EFCC. I was asked to write a statement under caution. I had to write a statement under caution, and after writing, they said I should be bailed, that I should look for somebody to bail me. I asked whether I could bail myself, they agreed, saying because I am the rector of the school and on self-recognition. That was how I was released. So, as I am speaking with you, I am on bail. I am a suspect because my mother died and ASUP, of which I am a member, gave me N20,000. So you see the level of embarrassment I have suffered because of this problem?”


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