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UI VC, DVC, Others Pinned As Group Petitions Education Minister Over Financial Mismanagement

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The chairman of Oyo State Internal Revenue Services, Aremo John Folorunsho, the Vice-Chancellor of the University of Ibadan, Professor Idowu Olayinka, his deputy, Prof. Kayode Adebowale, and bursar, Dr Michael Alatise have been named in a petition to the Minister of Education, Adamu Adamu over alleged financial mismanagement in the institution.

The petition, OYOINSIGHT.COM understands, might not be unconnected with the festering crisis over the appointment of the next VC in the institution where many stakeholders, including the senior and non-academic staff unions have alleged that the outgoing VC wants to impose his deputy as his successor.

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In the petition written by the Transparency and Good Governance Group and signed by group’s coordinator, Bala Ayodele, it alleged that after  a special anti-fraud investigation, these individuals worked together to allegedly siphon part of the tax liability of UI staff in which the federal government planned to  settle in four equal instalments of 25 per cent each.

The petition read: 

A Special Anti-Fraud Investigation has just discovered some cases of financial malpractices between the Chairman of Oyo State Internal Revenue Services (Aremo John Folorunso Adeleke) and some core management staff of the University of Ibadan, National Institute for Social and Economic Research (NISER), University College Hospital (UCH), among other federal MDAs in Oyo State.

Tax Recovery:

Under focus is the tax recovery case of the University of Ibadan which covers the period 2007 to 2018, i.e. twelve years, although the Personal Income Tax Act only allows for a maximum six-year regime tax recovery. This means that UI should have been audited for the period 2013 to 2018. It is to be noted that between 2009 and 2013, there was an understanding between UI and Oyo State on the percentage to be paid by the institution to the state government. Therefore, extending the tax deduction period back to 2007 was done in bad faith and with ulterior motives by officers from both institutions, i.e. UI and Oyo State.

A special investigation into the matter showed that there is a serious case of false financial claims and abuse of office in contravention of the code of conduct for public officers of the Federal Republic of Nigeria.

IPPIS at Work

Through the Integrated Personnel Payroll Information System (IPPIS), the Federal Government of Nigeria agreed to settle the tax liability of UI staff in four equal instalments of 25% each. The agreed tax claim for the period (2007-2018?) to be deducted from UI Accounts was put at N3.5b. The Lead and General Consultant in receipt of all tax payments from FG on behalf of MDAs in Oyo State government is Messrs O. O. & O. Consult with offices in both Lagos and Ibadan.

From our independent investigation, two tranches of the N3.5b tax debit have been released to the Oyo State Government on behalf of the University of Ibadan by August 2020.

Tax Fraud

Furthermore, there was an established plan for the other consultant (Femi Adeniji & Co) who brokered the OYSIRS-UI arrangement to be paid 10% of the recovered debt, as approved by the Executive Governor of Oyo State, Engineer Seyi Makinde. However, the Chairman (OYSIRS) and the State Commissioner of Finance arm-twisted the consultant to take 2% of the agreed 10%, with 6% to be shared by the Chairman, the Commissioner of Finance and other associates. For their role in the fraudulent deal associated with the tax recovery, three core management staff of UI were “awarded” the remaining 2% which amounted to N70m. Investigation revealed that the three management staff involved in the kickback deal included Prof Idowu Olayinka, the outgoing VC, Prof Kayode Adebowale, the current DVC (Admin) and Dr Michael Alatise, the outgoing Bursar of the University of Ibadan.

In addition, the first consultant for UI account had the mandate to cover the six-year period (2012-2017) in line with the existing Tax Law; however, the consultant that finalized the deal (Femi Adeniji & co) claimed that the tax recovery regime was done up till 2018 while in actual fact the year 2018 was traded off in favour of UI officials and OYSIRS. Indeed, the OYSIRS boss, Aremo John Folorunso Adeleke and the aforementioned management staff of University of Ibadan have a case to answer.

On the contrary, in the case of the University College Hospital, the scenario was different. The consultant for UCH (Baytem Nigeria Ltd) refused to accept the 2% deal and has gone ahead to approach the DSS, Abuja and a court of competence jurisdiction to challenge the arrangement. The DSS Abuja is currently interrogating the Chairman of OYSIRS and the Commissioner of Finance, Oyo State.

Questions

1. In the first place, the management of UI was supposed to contest the liability of N3.5b and seek proper legal advice. Recall that previous negotiations between UI and the Oyo State Government involved representatives from various workers’ unions of the University. We wonder why the unions were left out in the current negotiation. Could this be because of the ulterior motives of the officers involved?

2. The deal between UI and OYSIRS was finalised speedily within three months by the Bursar and the DVC (Admin) representing the VC and the University of Ibadan. Why did Prof Adebowale visit Aremo John Folorunso Adeleke in his private capacity to seal the deal of 2% (N70m) of the agreed sum of 3.5 billion naira for himself and Prof Idowu Olayinka?

3. Why did the consultant in UI case (Femi Adeniji & Co) find it difficult to emulate his UCH counterpart (Baytem Nigeria Ltd) in challenging the trade-off?

Action

It is clear that there are underhand arrangements of debt recovery affecting some MDAs in Oyo State. In the University of Ibadan example, it is clear that a number of officers in OYSIRS and administrative officers in UI have profited from the deal. We hereby request the Executive Governor of Oyo State to call the Chairman of OYSIRS to question on such sharp practices relating to tax deductions of federal MDAs in Oyo State. We also call upon the DSS, ICPC and EFCC to investigate this case of fraud, financial infraction and abuse of office for personal gains involving three management staff of UI – Kayode Adebowale, Idowu Olayinka and Michael Alatise – before they leave office.

 

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