The Federal College of Education, Obudu, Cross River state, has recommended the suspension of the provost of the college, James Ejue, for alleged theft of N125 million from the Government Integrated Financial Management Information System, GIFMIS, salary account of the college.
PREMIUM TIMES learnt the governing council of the college on December 15 recommended the provost for a three-month suspension from January 1 to March 31, 2018.
The decision came after PREMIUM TIMES reported the alleged misuse of N125 million in the school.
GIFMIS is an IT-based system for budget management and accounting that is being used by the federal government to improve public expenditure management processes, and enhance greater accountability and transparency across its ministries and agencies.
It was designed to help the government plan and use its financial resources more efficiently and effectively.
According to the letter of recommendation for suspension, signed by chairman of the governing council, Anthony Obi, a copy seen by PREMIUM TIMES, the provost was asked to refund N25 million “unaccounted within a three-month deadline, not exceeding March 2018.”
The provost was asked to refund N25 million despite having been accused of misusing N125 million.
The letter also said, “The Provost should hand over the college to the deputy provost, Mecha Kalu Uduma”, while the “Governing Council graciously invites the honourable minister to approve council’s recommendation to restore sanity in the college”.
When contacted on phone, Mr. Obi told PREMIUM TIMES that, “the information is not for public consumption.”
“It is still under investigation, as long as the council is concerned we’ve not made anything public,” Mr. Obi said.
Meanwhile, a source in the college who requested anonymity for fear of victimisation said the provost was recommended for suspension based on alleged misappropriation of funds in connivance with the bursar of the college, Ushie Sixtus, who has been on suspension since September 29.
According to the source, the governing council has ascertained that the duo embezzled the ’employee contribution scheme’ funds which is more or less the workers pension savings.
“There is a foul play in the decision of the governing council; they’ve been bribed. The correct verdict for the provost and the bursar after refunding the money should be prosecution but the council only asked them to return the money and go on three month suspension,” the source said.
The source added that the allegation leveled against the two is, “corruption, embezzlement, misappropriation, advance fee fraud and action prejudicial to the security of the state.”
The source also claimed that the provost and some of the council members were in Abuja last week to lobby the minister of education, Adamu Adamu, not to grant the approval of recommendation for suspension.
PREMIUM TIMES could not independently verify this claim. The minister could not be immediately reached.
Efforts to reach Mr Ejue were unsuccessful as he did not answer calls or respond to text messages sent to him.
The bursar, who also declined commenting on telephone, however, said he was yet to get any notification.
“I have not gotten any letter to the effect that my suspension has been extended by the governing council,” he said.
PREMIUM TIMES also reached out to the governing council.
“If you are asking me anything about FCE Obudu, I will not answer you, I don’t have any authority to speak or give you information regarding FCE Obudu and I told you the last time you called me. I don’t care about what you write. Contact the PRO of the institution,” Magdalene Okoko, the Registrar of FCE Obudu, who is also the secretary to the governing council told PREMIUM TIMES Friday night.
Justin Egba, the spokesperson of the college, acknowledged that the case was under investigation by the governing council.
“I will like to ‘work’ on any story you are writing as soon as the governing council gets to the root of the issue,” he said.