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Alleged Misuse of funds: EFCC probes ex-UNN VC, others

Nsukka—The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC, has begun investigating the former University of Nigeria, Nsukka, UNN, Vice Chancellor, Professor Bartho Okolo and some of the top officials who worked with him over alleged financial matters.

Vanguard gathered from the Nsukka campus of the UNN yesterday, that it was not clear which of the allegations brought operatives of the EFCC to the university but they arrived some days earlier.
The EFCC confirmed in Abuja yesterday that its operatives were at UNN to investigate the former Vice Chancellor over alleged misapplication of huge sums of money but did not give further details. However, apart from Okolo, highly placed administrative officers with something to do with award of contracts and disbursement of money were reportedly being investigated too.

UNN Alumni Accociation, workers’ unions in the university and the South Eastern Zone of the Civil Liberties Organisation, CLO, were among those who had accused Professor Okolo of official wrongdoing in the handling of institution’s funds and award of contracts without following due process.

The alumni association alleged that more than N3 billion of the University fund was misused in Professor Okolo’s tenure.
They also accused the former Vice Chancellor of awarding road contracts worth nearly N100 million, paid more than 90 per cent of the contract sums and yet the contracts remained unexecuted until the end of his tenure.

The CLO on its part alleged in a petition to the EFCC that five of the companies that Professor Okolo awarded contracts were fake. In a statement issued by its South East Zone office, the CLO said, “It is unheard of anywhere in the world that a vice chancellor will award contracts running into billions of naira to non-existing companies. We demand an urgent and thorough investigation.”
Our source said in Nsukka today

Vanguard was told that among the buildings whose contracts were awarded during Professor Okolo’s tenure but which remain uncompleted were the Pharmaceutical Faculty complex, School of Postgraduate Studies, Social Scciences complex, and several others. Less than three weeks to the end of his tenure, Okolo reportedly pulled down the largest building housing the Department of Microbiology and up until today not even the foundation of the building has been laid.

Sources said that the buildings which the former Vice Chancellor were showing off were really mere cases of refurbishing. They included the School of General Studies, Department of Economics, and Faculty of Education.

One special case was the Department of Sociology building which Governor Emmanuel Uduaghan of Delta State built and donated to the university free but which Prof. Okolo’s administration allegedly claimed that he put N55 million of the university’s money into.
An EFCC official who spoke on the condition of anonymity yesterday said, ‘’We are investigating the former UNN Vice Chancellor but have not arrested or detained him.’’


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