TETFund: How N359bn went missing in Jonathan’s administration ― Bogoro
The Executive Secretary of the Tertiary Education Trust Fund, Professor Suleiman Bogoro has revealed how a sum of N359 billion was withdrawn in 2013 from the account of the Fund without due process.
He spoke while responding to questions from the members of the Federal House of Representative Committee on Tertiary Education on Tuesday in Abuja during the oversight visit to the intervention Agency.
While making clarification on the missing fund, Bogoro said the management of 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.
The House Committee led by Hon. Aminu Suleiman made reference to the fund in their audited financial reports during the visit.
He said: “Under the guise of borrowing, if you add up the total sum of N359billion 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 N128billion 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.
Bogoro said that there has been a paradigm shift by investing more in the content components rather than buildings or infrastructure in institutions.
He told the House Committee that over 200 institutions are on the beneficiary list of TETFund from the 15 areas of intervention of the fund which had progressively advance the sector.
According to him, occasionally we have reasons to update and review and add the few areas of interventions that are considered very important.
He said: “We have to invest in the human capital through academic staff training and development. We have sponsored over 26000 for Ph.D. and Master degrees almost an equal number in overseas and within the country.
“We have recently introduced postdoctoral support for those who have just finished their Ph.D. up to a period of five years for the purposes of undertaking post-doctoral research.
He said that the research and development and center of excellence department of the fund had been supervising the utilisation of the approved grant.
“Recently we approved 128 research grant and we are hoping if Mr president approves a proposal that has been made by the board of trustees for an increase in the research grant, it will have a positive impact on the sector.
“We are therefore positive that we are likely to have an increment in that amount and with this, there is an increasing awareness in the Universities system that our Universities, polytechnics, and colleges of education cannot continue to emphasise teaching at the expense of research.
“That is the new area where we are investing massively. For some time now TETFund has been associated with merely building and we are saying that we want a paradigm shift. This is not to say that we will stop Physical infrastructure.
“We need them but even more important is the content of building the relevant areas of support of competitiveness of Universities,” he said.
Chairman, House Committee on Tertiary Education and Services, Mr. Suleiman Aminu promised to ensure the protection of the fund and to exploit areas where the fund would move from the present 2 percent to an agreeable percent.
Aminu said this would allow the fund to continue to exercise their work.
‘TETFund is one organisation that we are not only passionate about but one of the best creations that Nigeria as a country and Nigerians have done is the establishment of the fund.
“The confidence and trust of the fund had made government unofficially assume that the capital of our institution now lies with TETFund.
“We have been doing the best we could do to. We have put machinery in place in the 8th assembly before its winding up the but we could not conclude it but I am sure we have the intention by the committee to reopen so we can see how the fund can be financially strengthened.”