Friday, November 4

TETFUND: Senate uncovers ‘illegal’ diversion of N273bn under Jonathan

TETFUND: Senate uncovers ‘illegal’ diversion of N273bn under Jonathan

The Senate, yesterday said it had uncovered mismanagement of the education tax fund due to illegal diversion of N273 billion from the Tertiary Education Trust Fund (TETFUND) under the last administration of former President Goodluck Jonathan. The revelation was contained in the report of the Senate Committee on tertiary institutions and TETFUND which was considered in plenary.

While adopting recommendations of the committee, the Upper Chamber resolved that the TETFUND Act should be amended so as to accommodate approval of the National Assembly in the process of allocation and disbursement of funds belonging to TETFUND.

The Senate also recommended that the appointments of the Executive Secretary and that of the Chairman and Members of the Board of Trustees of Tetfund, be made by the President and confirmed by the Senate. It insisted that all monies borrowed from the Education Tax Account be refunded, stating that recovered sums would be deployed for the implementation of numerous infrastructural projects yet to be executed across tertiary institutions in the country.

Earlier in his presentation of the report, the Chairman of the Committee, Senator Barau Jibrin (APC – Kano North), said that the panel sequel to investigations, found that funds which amounted to N273,931,254,708.51 was not transferred to TETFund project account in 2014.

Instead, the money he said was diverted to finance various expenditure including the revitalization of universities’ infrastructure and payment of allowances of Academic Staff of Nigerian Universities during the period under reference on the approval of the former President Goodluck Jonathan.

According to Senator Jibrin, the diversion of funds belonging to Tetfund was made possible due to the loophole in the Tetfund Act which allowed only the President to be the approving authority without recourse to the National Assembly for approval.

He further stated that the loophole exploited by the previous administration, was in clear violation of Section 82(4) of the Constitution which states that, “no money shall be withdrawn from the Consolidated Revenue Fund or any public fund of the Federation, except in the manner prescribed by the National Assembly.”

Senator Jibrin also disclosed that the recently appointed Executive Secretary of Tetfund, Dr. Abdullahi Bafa, revealed to the committee that N10 billion of the diverted N273 billion, was given as loan to the Petroleum Technology Development Fund (PTDF), a sum recently refunded to Tetfund, and leaving a balance of N263.9 billion yet to be refunded by the Federal Government.

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