Why UNICAL Ex-Bursar Should Be Arrested By EFCC By Inyali Peter

Peter Agi, UNICAL Ex- Bursar
The government of President Muhammadu Buhari has promised to leave no stone unturned in the fight against corruption. Although accused of selective prosecution, the anti-corruption war has recorded some level of success with the recovering of huge amount of monies from politicians.

However, corruption is not an exclusive practice for political office holders or NNPC officers. The single bane to Nigeria development (corruption) cut across every spectrum and the searchlight of the anti-corruption agency should be extended to other sectors.

This is because some of the chief executives or top management staff of some institutions will in future grow to hold political offices and may continue looting. Hence, the fight should be structured to bring a lasting solution to the unimaginable level of corruption in Nigeria not just recovering of looted funds from past political office holders.

Some nonpolitical office holders who were fortunate to be in position of authority and have control over public funds have shown that they are more corrupt than politicians. For instance, the former Bursar of UNICAL, Mr. Peter Agi. The corruption charges against him are so glaring that one begin to wonder why he is still walking freely on the street.

Information available to me suggest that Andrew Yakabu, the former GMD of the NNPC who the EFCC recently recovered $9 million from may be a saint where Peter Agi is. This is because a man who can loot from UNICAL despite the enormity of challenges confronting the university will triple Yakubu loots if given opportunity to work in NNPC.

In every establishment, there's a limit to the amount of money the head can approve. Even the President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria has a limit to what he can approve. Huge amount of money must go under scrutiny and subsequent approval by the Federal Executive Council. In a university setting, despite the fact that the bursar is the accounting officer, the chief accounting officer is the  Vice Chancellor who should grant approval for every financial transactions.

Some transactions with huge amount are exclusively reserved for the governing council. But during the tenure of Agi as Bursa, he usurped the position of chief accounting officer and council especially in the areas of making transactions.  He approves funds without the knowledge of the vice Chancellor. Some of the transactions even exceeds the limit the VC can approve.

According to available facts, Under Agi, there was incessant unauthorized transfer of funds from the UNICAL International Demonstration Secondary School, UCIDSS, Zenith Bank Accounts to some hidden account without the knowledge of the VC. In one of such reckless and suspicious transactions, Agi ordered the former board chairperson of the school, Professor Florence Obi and the Principal Dr. Kingsley Abang to transfer the huge some of N27,134,930.61 (Twenty-Seven million, one hundred and thirty four thousand, nine hundred and thirty naira, sixty kobo) to a hidden account. The amount exceed the approval threshold of N100,000 (One hundred thousand Naira) of the chairperson.

In another instance, the bursa used the chairperson to transfer N15,000,000 (Fifteen million Naira) from the UCIDSS account to yet another unidentified account without approval or knowledge of the chief accounting officer (VC).

Similarly, the university witnessed retrogression and frustration in the attempt to be self reliance. A good example was when the university set out to revamp the institution printing press. To pursue this objective, the university sourced a loan of N27 million but regrettably this project was never executed nor the money for the project refunded. The university is made to pay the loan capital and interest instead of making profits from a well conceived source of generating income

There's a lot more financial misappropriation which have been discovered in the cause of this investigation. For instance, the N2 million loaned the university by the former Vice Chancellor, Professor James Ekpoke for the production of the compendium for "UNICAL AT 40" celebration cum convocation was withdrawn by Agi but until has suspension has neither be refunded to the university account nor paid to Ekpoke.

If a man who by role of engagement is supposed to compulsorily report to the VC, every financial transaction decided to arrogantly arrogated the powers to approve and disapprove financial transactions to himself without recourse to constituted authorities and most cases the funds are transfered to unknown destinations, then there's need for the EFCC to investigate the matter.

The position of Bursar in academic institution is revered position that should only be given to stable characters with proven pedigree. Whoever is privileged to occupy the office must clearly show high level of discipline, accountability, maturity and transparency in handling financial matters. But unfortunately, Agi was a direct opposite of this.

If the current administration's anti-corruption war is intended at providing a lasting solution to the menace, then it must be holistic and all inclusive. Not only the political class are corrupt. The root of corruption is embedded more in civil service, MDAs and some of these institutions.

Agi, as a matter of necessity should be investigated and if found guilty prosecuted by the EFCC. This will serve as deterrent to Bursas and other top managers who have been dishonest with the handling of public funds.

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