OrderPaperToday – The Senate Committee on Public Accounts has commenced an investigation of the Maritime Academy of Nigeria, Oron, Akwa Ibom State, over allegations of illegal diversion and irregular withdrawal of N1.05billion in a commercial bank.

The chairman of the committee, Senator Mathew Urhoghide (PDP, Edo South), hinged the investigation on a query by the Office of Auditor General for the Federation, OAuGF which exposed the alleged mismanagement in its 2018 Audited Report.

The report stated that the sum of N457million released to the Academy on December 13, 2012 was irregularly diverted to the United Bank of Africa (UBA) account number 1006476693.

It further stated that the sum of N608million was also irregularly withdrawn from account number 02550040000037 with the same bank without stating the purpose of the withdrawal.

However, the Rector of the Academy, Duja Effedua, in a response, said that the allegations against the institution is grievous but that none of the staff is ready to talk to him on what transpired regarding the audited report, adding that he did not take over from anybody on resumption of duty.

“It is true, they won’t talk to me. They have written about 6,000 petitions against me. They want me dead, they are frustrating me, I need the help of the committee to carry out the investigation,” he said, adding:

“I came to kick start something I don’t have any information about, they will frustrate every effort to get to the root of the matter. I want an ad-hoc committee to be set up and get to the root of the matter.”

The Rector however said that he is ready to cooperate with the committee in order to get to the root of the matter upon which the chairman of the committee gave him three weeks to provide the necessary documents on the allegations raised in the Auditor General’s report.

The first query reads: “Audit observed that the sum of N457million released to the Academy on 13th December 2012 was irregularly diverted to UBA account number 1006476693.

“All efforts made by the audit team to sight the bank statement, supporting documents for utilization of the fund and other relevant details proved abortive.

“No response from management as at the time of this report. Risk diversion of funds is illegal and deprives the government of resources.

“The Rector is required to recover the sum of N457, 657, 293.12 (Four hundred and fifty seven million, six hundred and fifty seven thousand, two hundred and ninety three naira, twelve kobo) irregularly diverted into a private account and furnish recovery particulars. Sanctions within FR 3106 should apply.”

Also, in the second query, “Audit observed that the sum of N608 million was irregularly withdrawn from account number 02550040000037 with the United Bank for Africa (UBA) without stating the purpose of the withdrawal. No response from management as at the time of this report. Risk diversion of public fund for purposes other than intended.”

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