Kuni Tyessi in Abuja
Executive Secretary of the Tertiary Education Trust Fund (TETFund), Prof. Suleiman Bogoro, has explained how in the year 2013 a total sum of N359 billion was withdrawn from the coffers of the fund without specific reasons.
He said since the deductions were made, it has had negative impact on the intervention agency, and as such, the fund has had to file various petitions to the Ministry of Finance and the National Assembly, all in a bid to recover the money from the government.
Bogoro sought to clear the air over the missing funds, when the members of the House of Representatives Committee on Tertiary Education, led by Hon. Aminu Suleiman, paid an oversight visit to the agency and made reference to the funds in their audited financial reports on Tuesday in Abuja.
While responding to questions from the legislators on discrepancies in the administrative cost of the fund, Bogoro allayed fears of financial impropriety in the agency, insisting that the Board of Trustees (BOT) gives approval before funds were disbursed.
TETFund is empowered by the Education Tax Fund (Amendment) Act No. 17, 2003 to judiciously manage and disburse the two per cent assessable profits accruing from all registered companies in Nigeria, specifically for public tertiary institutions.
Bogoro said it was regrettable that various narratives have trailed the missing funds, such that some persons have mischievously ascribed the funds to him when they had no facts to back their allegations.
“Under the guise of borrowing, if you add up total sum of N359 billion was taken out between September and December 2013 without any consultation, whatsoever, but with the Treasury Single Account (TSA) coming into place 2015, a lot more things have changed.
“On that amount, I think there was about N128 billion taken out in one tranche that had nothing to do with education, we had to write the Ministry of Finance requesting for the money, it was even ascribed to me by some mischievous persons.
“We however appreciate the National Assembly members for their concerns and efforts to see that these monies are refunded to us by this year, because it will help our accounts to be more balanced,” he said.
TETFund Executive Secretary also explained that N10 billion meant for high impact projects in selected tertiary institutions has been mopped up from the system.
He added that the fund uncovered that some of the benefiting tertiary institutions were stockpiling the allocated funds for several years without utilising it for purposes they were meant for.
He equally noted that the mopped-up funds would be redistributed to tertiary institutions, taking all institutions in all the geo-political zones into consideration.
Bogoro debunked insinuations that the fund has not been equitable in the disbursement of interventions nationwide, saying all universities, polytechnics and colleges of education get equal amount of allocations at any given time.