The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission on Wednesday interrogated a former Minister of Works and current Pro-Chancellor of the Federal University of Agriculture, Abeokuta, Ogun State, Senator Adeseye Ogunlewe.
It was learnt that Ogunlewe was invited to the Ibadan office of the EFCC sequel to a petition written to the EFCC by a group known as Concerned Stakeholders of FUNAAB in which Ogunlewe and the Vice-Chancellor, Prof. Olusola Oyewole, and other members of the university’s governing council were accused of mismanaging N250m.
According to sources at the university, Oyewole and Ogunlewe allegedly spent N250m for allowances in four years thereby plunging the university into financial crisis.
The anti-graft agency said in a Facebook post that Ogunlewe was still being interrogated as of 4pm on Wednesday.
It said, “Senator Adeseye Ogunlewe, the Pro-Chancellor, FUNAAB, is being quizzed at the Iyaganku office of the EFCC, Ibadan today, August 31, 2016 in respect of an alleged case of abuse of office and misappropriation of funds reported against the university Pro-Chancellor, Vice-Chancellor, Prof. Olusola Oyewole, management and some members of the governing council.
“According to a petition submitted to the EFCC by the Concerned Stakeholders of the Federal University of Agriculture, it was alleged that the pro-chancellor and the vice-chancellor engaged in an ‘unbridled corruption and betrayal of public trust.’ Ogunlewe is still being interrogated by the EFCC operatives of the commission.”
The EFCC had on August 17 quizzed Oyewole and the university Bursar, Mr. Moses Ilesanmi, for their alleged roles in the case.
When contacted on the telephone, Ogunlewe confirmed that he was quizzed by the commission but added that he was only asked to offer explanations and he left the anti-graft agency at 10am.
The former minister said the petition was initiated by the bursar who was aggrieved because the governing council refused to extend his tenure.
Ogunlewe added that the council had no access to N250m and therefore dismissed the allegation.
He said, “All our allowances are prescribed under the rules and regulations. The governing council sits only four times a year and our allowances cannot be altered. So, the allegations are false. In government you must sign whenever you receive money. So, how could we have signed off on that amount of money?
“The council is not involved in the day-to-day running of the school. We don’t approve money or contracts. What we do is policy-making. So, we have no access to such funds. The registrar is the secretary to the council and he has all the relevant documents.”
When asked to explain what he told detectives, Ogunlewe said, “I told them four things. First, the bursar asked for extension by one year and the council refused his application and that is why he is against the council. So, his petition is in bad faith.
“Secondly, the bursar was involved in N27m missing funds and so it is him that the EFCC should be investigating. Thirdly, we are about to appoint a new VC so there is a lot of fighting and politics going on.”
The Senior Staff Association of Nigerian Universities had on August 24, this year, staged a demonstration at the Ibadan office of the EFCC where they called on the Federal Government to investigate financial and other administrative activities of the vice-chancellor of the university.
During the protest, the Chairman of SSANU of the University of Ibadan, Wale Akinremi, who spoke on behalf of the leaders of the union, said the group staged the protest to condemn and reject the recent suspension of members of the union by the embattled VC.
He said the suspended members were targeted because they wrote a petition against the VC to the EFCC.
He said, “Our position is that as from this moment, SSANU as a union, ceases to recognise Prof. Oyewole as the VC of FUNAAB. We are saying that the Federal Government should beam its searchlight on the university system in Nigeria, especially on the pro-chancellors, the vice-chancellors and the bursars.”