November 28, 2021

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Senate probes Maritime academy over alleged diversion of N1.06bn

The Senate Public Accounts Committee has launched an investigation into alleged illegal withdrawal and diversion of N1.06bn released to the Maritime Academy of Nigeria, Oron, Akwa Ibom, into a private account.

The chairman of the committee, Senator Matthew Urhoghide, disclosed this when the rector of the academy, Duja Effedua, appeared before the panel on alleged financial malfeasance in the school.

The Auditor-General for the Federation, in a 2018 report, had queried the academy over diversion of N457m in 2012 into a private account as well as illegal withdrawal of another N608m by the school management.

The query read: “Audit observed that the sum of N457m 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 N457.6m irregularly diverted into a private account and furnish recovery particulars. Sanctions within FR 3106 should apply.”

Responding, the rector acknowledged that the allegations against the institution were grievous.

He, however, said none of the staff members was ready to talk to him on the issues raised in the audit report, adding that no one handed over to him.

“They won’t talk to me. They have written about 6,000 petition against me. They want me dead. They are frustrating me. I need the help of the committee to carry out the investigation.

“I came to kick start something I don’t have any information about, they will frustrate every effort to get to root of the matter,” he said.