The treasurer of the Senior Staff Association of Nigerian Universities (SSANU), Federal University of Technology Owerri branch, Mr. Uche Nwokeji has been dragged before the Independent Corrupt Practices and Other Related Offences Commission (ICPC).
A petition submitted to ICPC’s Office in Abuja, by one Mr. Edison Ugwumba accused Nwokeji and the late chairman of SSANU FUTO branch, Mr. Franklin Matthews of mismanaging, misappropriating and embezzling funds belonging to the union in the past four years. Matthews died in June this year.
In the petition, addressed to the chairman of the anti-graft agency and titled “Petition for embezzlement of the the sum of N118 million by SSANU treasurer, Mr. Uche Nwokeji”, Ugwumba, a member of the union, accused the officials of arbitrarily managing the finances of the union without compliance with the union’s constitution.
He alleged that the the way and manner the financial transactions of the union have been shrouded in secrecy presupposed a fraudulent intent by the late chairman, Matthews and the treasurer, Nwokeji.
He added that the late chairman and the treasurer were spending the union’s money without approval from neither the branch executive committee nor the congress of members.
“The late chairman and the treasurer singlehandedly purchased a 2004 model Toyota Highlander official vehicle at inflated coat of N7 million when the market price of the vehicle was about N2.5 million. In addition, they have failed and neglected to pay welfare benefits to members for the past four years.
“I was reliably informed that he (Nwokeji) freely transfers money from the union account into his personal account, from where he disburses cash.
“Last month, I was reliably informed that the union received a deposit of the sum of N13 million check off dues acruable to the union as deducted by the Federal Government vide IPPIS platform. The treasurer fraudulently lied by telling the branch executive that what the union received was the sum of N9 million. And the treasurer went ahead to withdraw the sum of N9 million from the union without the knowledge, approval or written consent of the acting chairperson,” the petitioner alleged.
He further added that despite the fact that the tenure of the late chairman and the branch executive including the treasurer has elapsed on October 5, 2020, Nwokeji had singlehandedly and arbitrarily withdrawn monies to the tune of over N15 million from the union accounts since expiration of his tenure.
The petitioner, who noted that members of the union were becoming restive over the alleged financial crimes committed by the late chairman and the treasurer, warned that there might be breakdown of law and order in the university if urgent steps were not taken to arrest the situation.
He therefore called on the commission’s chairman to use his office to thoroughly investigate the activities of the treasurer between 2016 to 2020 to unravel the misappropriation of the union’s fund with a view to bringing the culprits to book.
When contacted, Nwokeji described the petition as ridiculous, saying the union does not have the capacity to make such amount of money even in ten years from check off dues.
According to him, it is not possible for a treasurer to embezzle union’s fund or transfer such to personal accounts because he is not the only signatory to the account.
On the allegation that he was still withdrawing monies from the union’s accounts despite the fact that his tenure has elapsed, the treasurer said that the national leadership of the union allowed the FUTO executive to continue in office pending when election is conducted for the branch.