The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC, is investigating the Vice-Chancellor of the Kano State University of Science and Technology, Wudil, Kano State, Shehu Alhaji-Musa, over an alleged N1.1 billion contract scam, it has been reliably gathered.
In a letter sighted by our correspondent, the commission said it was investigating contracts awarded by the vice chancellor for the supply of office equipment and library stationery as well as the furnishing of a 400-seat capacity twin theatre.
According to other documents obtained by our newsmen, the sum of N584,591,000 was awarded for the supply of office equipment and library stationery, while N608,200,000 was awarded for the furnishing of the 400-seat capacity twin theater on the university campus.
It was gathered that the project was captured under the 2021 final supplementary intervention of the Tertiary Education Trust Fund, TETFUND.
The EFCC letter reads: “This Commission is investigating a case in which there is a need to obtain information from you in respect of the above-mentioned contracts purported to have been awarded by your office (copy attached).”
“In view of the above, you are requested to kindly furnish us with the following information: confirm the genuineness or otherwise of the contracts; if in the affirmative, avail us with details of the beneficiary of the contracts, mode of payment for their execution to include the account number(s) and bank(s), certified true copies of all documents regarding the award and execution of the said contracts; status of the contracts, and any other information that may assist our investigation”.
The anti-graft commission said the request was made pursuant to Section 38(1) of the Economic Financial Crimes Commission (Establishment) Act, 2004.
In a similar vein, the Academic Staff Union of Universities, ASUU, KUST chapter is accusing the Vice Chancellor of obtaining a loan facility to purchase eight exotic cars worth N200 million without due process.
The ASUU said the purchase of the vehicles came after the the state government bought N40 million vehicles to the VC.
The union also accused Mr Alhaji-Musa of perpetrating multiple frauds, showing disregard for the university tenders board, and usurping the powers of the governing council.
In separate letters addressed to the pro-chancellor and chairman of the governing council, jointly signed by the branch chairman, Muhammad Gayya, and the assistant secretary general, Mudasir Nasir, the lecturers urged the council to take punitive action against the embattled vice chancellor before the expiration of his tenure on January 7, 2023.
According to the initial letter dated December 12, 2022, the union threatened to take legal action if the council failed to “urgently do the needful”.
“The union on several occasions has expressed serious dismay over the procurement of eight (8) exotic vehicles on loan facility amounting to two hundred million naira [N200,000,000.00] with 10% interest from a commercial bank.
“The procurement was a flagrant disregard to Section 16 Subsection (1), Section 24, Section 25, Section 42 of Public Procurement Act 2007, Kano State public procurement reforms and Kano State Appropriation Law 2019.
“It was quite obvious that the former Pro-Chancellor A.B Mahmoud SAN, knowing fully that the procurement was illegal, went with one of the vehicles as part of his severance package.
“You may wish to also note that the outgoing Vice Chancellor has one exotic vehicle (Lexus Jeep), a Toyota Prado Jeep, a Peugeot 806, and another Toyota Jeep procured by the state government worth forty million naira (N40,000,000.00) in his custody.
“The union is calling on the council to, as a matter of urgency, do the needful; otherwise, ASUU-KUST will not hesitate to take legal action,” the letter read in part.
While noting that it is the responsibility of university tenders board to recommend award of contracts above N2 million, the union said the VC flouted the rule in spending the 2020 NEEDS assessment intervention fund.
“The 2020 NEEDS Assessment Intervention amounting to one hundred and ninety-four million naira (N194,000,000.00) released to the university in December 2021, was purportedly expended without the statutory Council Tenders Board meeting and approval of the Governing Council.
“It is sad to see this development of continuous usurpation of the powers of the Governing Council by the management of the University.
“The council should ensure the fund (N194 million) is recovered in order to avert unnecessary litigation,” the letter read.
The union further said the management under the leadership of the outgoing VC, has begun an illegal recruitment of academic staff in some departments without due process or consideration for newly established departments that need more staff.
“Our concern has been: when did the council approve the recruitment, and is there any budgetary provision for the recruitment? We are worried that recruitment at this transition period would not augur well for the system.
“We have been lamenting that even if there is going to be any employment, priority should be given to the 23 newly introduced programs that are facing NUC accreditation soon,” the lecturers said in the letter.
In a follow-up letter dated December 20, 2022, the union reminded the council of its promise to convene a regular council meeting to deliberate on “pressing issues affecting the smooth running of the university.”
The union also reminded the university council of the directives of the Kano State Executive Council, mandating it to institute a disciplinary procedure against the outgoing VC, former bursar Balaraba Usman, and other erring officers in line with public service rules and university laws.
“You may also wish to recall the directives of Kano State Executive Council on instituting disciplinary procedures against the outgoing Vice Chancellor, the former Bursar, and other erring officers in line with the university law and public service rules, which the Council is supposed to consider.
“It is in the opinion of the Union that the confidence reposed in the Council will not be allowed to be drained by passive treatment of issues of high magnitude.
“This passivity will definitely push the union to contemplate considering other available options through established statutory government agencies.
“The Union is fully aware that the tenure of the present Vice Chancellor expires on 7th January, 2022, and there are a lot of speculations going round on reasons for the apathy of the Council to address vital issues as and when due.
“Please note that the union was compelled to make this reminder with all sincerity of purpose, hoping you will in your capacity as the Pro-chancellor, do the needful to save the university from imminent crisis,” the letter warned.
Attempts by our correspondent to get an update on the investigation of the vice chancellor by the EFCC proved abortive as the commission’s spokesperson, Wilson Uwujaren, did not respond to our enquiry on the matter.
When contacted, the KUST deputy registrar in charge of information and public relations declined comment, saying he was not aware of the ASUU petitions and the EFCC investigation of the Vice -Chancellor.