The Tertiary Education Trust Fund (TETFund), the Federal Government agency responsible for the funding of research and projects across tertiary institutions, has no official public records for its disbursement of funds, and released its intervention allocations only up till 2013 on its website, SaharaReporters has learnt.
This is just as workers in TETFund alleged several infractions in the running of the Fund, including anomalies with the recruitment of 98 new workers and abysmal conduct of promotion examinations.
Checks by SaharaReporters on the website of the agency confirmed that there are no public records of how TETFund disbursed its hundreds of billions of funds since 2011 when it was established.
SaharaReporters also confirmed that although TETFUND claims to provide funds to 226 benefitting institutions, the schools are not listed, while the intervention allocations to colleges of education, polytechnics and universities was last released for 2013.
“Some top officials are engaging in deep-seated corruption. The anti-graft agencies, the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) and the Independent Corrupt Practices (and Other Related Offences) Commission (ICPC) should beam its searchlight and investigate these funds. Some of the projects sponsored by TETFund in institutions were poorly implemented, abandoned and there is no accountability on both parts because of corrupt officials,” a staff member told SaharaReporters.
SaharaReporters saw that the last publicly released annual report was in 2018, and although the Executive Secretary, Prof Suleiman Bogoro claimed in August 2021 that N292.66 billion would be disbursed in 2021 as intervention funds, there was no public knowledge of details of what happened to the previous allocations.
Bogoro had added that TETFund would give “N906 million to each university while N628 million will go to one polytechnic and one college of education across the six geo-political zones” but some workers in the Fund believed that the allocations “were not conscientiously monitored to ensure the integrity of the projects.”
TETFUND is not new to allegations of mismanagement and fraud by top officials.
SaharaReporters had on November 3 reported that some members of TETFund staff alleged infractions in the conduct of promotion examinations for its workers.
According to the staff members who spoke on condition of anonymity, the TETFund Board of Trustees cancelled the promotion examinations usually conducted by the Administrative Staff College of Nigeria (ASCON) following some unanimous petitions.
From internal memos obtained by SaharaReporters, the body had stated that the examinations were to be conducted by the Joint Admissions and Matriculation Board (JAMB).
The staff members further stated that the board of trustees had changed the examination pass mark of the Public Service rule from 50% to 70%, oral interview from 30% to 20% and the Annual Performance Evaluation Report (APER) from 20% to 10%.
One of them had told SaharaReporters, “There are infractions in TETFund, particularly regarding the promotion examination. The board of trustees cancelled promotion examinations conducted by ASCON with a unanimous petition.
“They asked staff members to read ASCON refresher course materials and TETfund guidelines, going out of context of the material mentioned above.
“They changed the pass mark of Public Service rules examination from 50% to 70%, oral interview from 30% to 20% and APER from 20% to 10%.”
Another staff member had noted, ”The Executive Secretary, Prof. Suleiman Elias Bogoro has been thoroughly misinformed for him to be taking such decisions and these are the people that are controlling him: Director, Human Resources and General Administration: Abubakar Adamu assisted by Mrs Catherine Onuaha; Dauda Shuaibu; Moronfolu Aramide and Ichewo Nsirim. They even participated in the oral interview.
”Moreso, they added 1 mark to favour 17 members of staff and smuggled in some members of staff that didn't even score up to the pass mark of 45 marks.”
In January 2018, the EFCC had begun investigating 12 federal universities over “lack of prudence and judicious use of funds allocated to them by TETFUND” although nothing was heard about the results of the probe.
The former TETFUND boss, Dr Abdullahi Bichi, had confirmed the probe, although he was also removed from office and replaced with Bogoro, who was earlier asked to step aside based on sundry allegations of fraud and mismanagement at the TETFUND.
The TETFUND's spokesman, Dr Abdulmumini Oniyangi, in his reaction, said the agency had some "teething problems" but would rectify any issues with disbursements and allocations information on its website.
"Yes, we still talked about the website today and I am surprised that you can't find the details of disbursements and others there. We have some teething problems and we are putting things in order. I am aware that the 2019 approved annual report is ready and should have been uploaded too. But I will get back to you. Let me find out," he said.