LAUTECH, Oyo Commissioner Replies ASUU
Reply to LAUTECH ASUU: University Accounts And Forensic Audit: Setting The Records Straight.
THE Oyo state Commissioner for Education, Science and Technology, Professor Adeniyi Olowofela has reacted to the recent statement credited to the Academic Staff Union of Nigerian Universities, ASUU, LAUTECH CHAPTER over the lingering imbroglio rocking the citadel of learning as regards the problem of funding of the University and owner state governments response to the issues.
ISSUE : Our Union, ASUU, is aware of the persistent claim by the Oyo state Commissioner for Education, Prof. ‘Niyi Olowofela, on the operation of alleged 97 bank accounts by the LAUTECH and the release of N13.63 billion by the owner states between 2011 — 2016. Olowofela also claimed that members of staff Unions were the ones preventing the audit firm, KPMG, from carrying out the forensic exercise, on which the owner states premised their decision not to release funds to the University.
REACTION: For ease of reference, I want to draw the attention of ASUU to page 72 and 73 Visitation Panel’s report:
The Panel observed that the University opened ninety-seven different bank accounts in almost all the commercial banks in the country. Some of the banks have closed shop, due to either restructuring, merger or outright de-listment by the Central Bank of Nigeria. The Panel felt concerned about the monies in some of the banks that are no longer active and the possibility of the recovery in future. The banks include but not limited to, Intercontinental Bank, Oceanic Bank, Afribank and Enterprise Bank, just to mention a few. The implication of having funds in any of the banks that are in this category is that some of them might not be in a position to make good to the University, such sums of money standing to the credit of the Institution, if and when a demand is made for them).
ISSUE : Our Union is disturbed but not surprised, about this deliberate misinformation and manipulation of facts about issues on ground. While ASUU is NOT a mouthpiece for the University administration, it is strange that the governments which put LAUTECH administration in place cannot demand accountability from the same appointees. The prefer to confuse issues by putting blames on the door-step of the workers of the University and putting the lives and careers of about 30,000 students in jeopardy. The operation of the accounts solely lies with the University administration and it must be held responsible for any infractions thereof.
REACTION : See page 39 Visitation Panel report for ease of reference: At the inaugural meeting of the Panel, the above documents were requested from the Bursar, who in turn made a qualified promise to make them available — the qualification being to the effect that not all of the documents/records could be made available as the (Bursary) was still working on them. The Panel was told that the arrears of work was as a result of the non-computerization of the Bursary Department’s operations, and that there were lots of arrears when the Bursar assumed the acting headship of the Bursary in 2013.
The findings in summary confirmed that the Panel got only the audited accounts for 2010/11 and 2011/12, while the ones for 2012/13, 9 months ended 2013, 2014 and 2015 were still being prepared, as at the time of the inaugural meeting. There was no Bank Reconciliation for the period and there was no standard Fixed Assets Register in place for the University since its inception, as well as an Accounting manual.
With the above situation being that which the Panel met on ground, the Panel was able to formulate an issue to be resolved for the University, which is “ineffective, inefficient and untimely record keeping of the accounting operations, resulting in inability to authenticate the accuracy and completeness of the accounting records of the University).
ISSUE : The wage bill of LAUTECH is about N365 million per month; this amounts to N4.38 billion per year. Therefore for 2011–2016, the total wage bill expected as subvention from the owner governments stood at N26.28 billion. This amount does not include allowances, gratuities and pensions that accrued. It is also necessary to note that the University administration used Internally Generated Revenue (IGR) and reserves to offset salaries for 18 months.
The IGR is derived essentially from fees paid by different categories of students. Therefore, it is appalling that the Commissioner for Education who is also a University Professor will be peddling lies alleging that N13.63 billion will pay EVEN salaries of members of staff for 6 years! During this period (2011–2016).
REACTION: I never talked about using subventions for payment of salaries, and you did not refute the fact that the owner states paid the said amount, I wonder why ASUU will abandon the truth on the table of exigencies, to have said I lied is indecorous, cantankerous and perfidious).
ISSUE: There was no release of capital grant and overheads to LAUTECH. Regarding capital development, infrastructure, acquisition of equipment and staff training, LAUTECH has barely managed to be credible as a university through ASUU-inspired Federal Government intervention programmes such as TetFund and NEEDs Assessment. It is particularly regrettable that the level of indebtedness of the owner states to the University succinctly captured by the Olanipekun Visitation Panel is being down-played by the Commissioner just to pursue the shadow they call “forensic audit”.
The locus of financial policy and the repository of the financial documents of LAUTECH are the University Council and administration which are the appropriate organs to be asked to account. Our Union, ASUU, should not be dragged into the encumbrances surrounding the financial auditing by KPMG and this should not be linked with non-payment of salaries.
Our union wants to point out the unexplained and unacceptable silence of the University administration on the claims highlighted above; a pointer to either the acceptance or connivance with the owner state governments to destroy LAUTECH.
REACTION: (While on Fresh FM radio, Ibadan, I asked, the ASUU and SSANU presidents, are you aware that Oyo-State Government has paid the 25 % subvention for January and February to LAUTECH? The SSANU president said, it’s a lie and I told him that, you should have used the world “I am not aware, I said asked your Bursar).
For your information the sum of 147.9 Million Naira for the month of January and February has been credited to LAUTECH by Oyo-State Government.
Furthermore, the ASUU President, asked me whether I am aware that Council tenure has expired, I ignored the question because I knew it was not true, when I asked him to confirm the expiration of council is July, he said Union will respond.
So the response, is to disparage the truth?
The position of Government is to solve the issue of LAUTECH permanently, this campaign of calumny will soon fizzle away.
LAUTECH will rise again.
Stronger and better.
But Forensic Audit must be done.
Professor J. A. Olowofela.
Commissioner for Education, Science & Technology, Oyo State.