The Academic Staff Union of University (ASUU) has maintained and described the Integrated Payroll and Personnel Information System (IPPIS) as a tunnel created to siphon government resources.
The branch Chairman of ASUU in the Federal University of Technology, Akure, (FUTA) Dr Olayinka Awopetu, who stated this in a statement issued and signed by him stated that the platform is a weapon of fraud and corruption.
According to Awopetu, who said events of the last four months of using the platform for university staff had exposed that the platform is not only fraudulent but described it as “corruption on steroids” and “fraud on a roller coaster”
He said “Events of the last few months have not only vindicated the position of ASUU, but they are also proving that serious fraud could be going on through IPPIS if not urgently checked”
He noted that names of academics had been arbitrarily injected into the platform even without any registration or capturing their biometrics and queried the possibility of registering academics
on a payroll system that was touted to have the unique identity management feature and based on personal biometrics.
“The answer is blowing in the winds, but this is of very grave consequences and Nigerians should be worried. President Buhari should be most bothered as the AGF’s office can now wilfully inject ghost names into the payroll of any MDA or university without being detected.
“Some academics who had not registered and on sabbatical were fraudulently enrolled on the system and were paid their February and March salaries in April 2020”
He explained that “A third of this group were paid twice for one month (double payment); the total sums for each month were different and no pay advice was provided explaining the differences.
“Worse still, deductions were made for National Housing Fund which does not apply to university staff while union dues deducted are not remitted to the union.
“Not done with their fraud many staff were placed on grades and levels different from the true positions.
“The AGF office has now paid most academics the two-month salaries President Buhari ordered to be paid, but fraudulently through their IPPIS System and exposed the fraud built into the system further”
He explained further that “The academic pay schedule was mangled: some were not paid at all; many of those paid cannot understand what they were paid, as there were no payslips, many were clearly underpaid; deductions are haphazard; and many other complaints. And that is the system meant to check corruption in the university system. This is the AGF’s “foolproof system”, the anti-corruption payroll system”
He stated that these are parts of the reasons ASUU has consistently rejected the system, saying the body believed it cannot and will not work for universities system because of three major reasons but said the Minister of Finance and Accountant General of the Federation never seized to keep blackmailing ASUU.
Awopetu, however, listed the reasons and explained that “Public universities have the autonomy, backed by an Act of Parliament (Universities Miscellaneous Provisions Act, 1993, No 11 as amended) which means their statutes and conditions of service differ from the General Order of the civil service. Each university is governed by a Council mostly nominated by the government.
“Staff are employed, disciplined and removed by this body. The Visitor is either the President or the Governor.
“The nature and character of university engagements bestow on them certain peculiarities that a unified payment information system cannot deal with.
“Universities are universal systems that make academics move seamlessly across continents on sabbaticals, fellowships, short-term contracts, academic visits, adjunct Lectureship, etc. all of which are paid engagements.
“The 1992 Federal Government / ASUU Agreements dictates, in pursuance of university autonomy, that civil service rules and changes do not apply to universities. In this respect, the autonomy of the universities, in relation to emoluments and conditions of service is negotiated through collective bargaining”
Awopetu maintained that the implications of what is happening in the system were that Minister of Finance and the AGF have been deceiving Nigerians about the integrity and transparency of IPPIS
He noted that the AGF or any of his cronies could decide to place anyone on the payroll of any MDA or university through the IPPIS since Vice-Chancellors and University bursars are just figureheads in their various establishments.
“ASUU-FUTA, however, demanded the the “Immediate removal of the Minister of Finance and The Accountant General of The Federation for aiding and abetting fraud and corruption, against the anti-corruption mantra of the Buhari presidency.
“An independent IT audit of the IPPIS platform to assure its authenticity and integrity, and the ghost workers that may have been injected and the volume of Salami Slice Attack on this IPPIS platform should be carried out.
“Identification and prosecution of those responsible for the so-called detected ghost workers, accounting for as much as N361b as widely claimed by the AGF.
“Immediate stoppage of the payment of ASUU members’ salaries through this fraudulent and corruption-ridden IPPIS platform; reversal to the GIFMIS system pending the adoption of the ASUU proposed UTAS platform”
The FUTA ASUU chairman however restated that members of the union in FUTA outrightly rejected the IPPIS and called on the Federal government to embrace the UTAS being proposed by ASUU.
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