Mr Akaehomen Akii Ibhadode, the Vice Chancellor of the Federal University of Petroleum Resources (FUPRE) in Effurun, Delta State, has been arrested alongside other top management staff at the institution over a N300 million fraud scandal, SaharaReporters has learned.
According to SaharaReporters, a senior lecturer at the institution who confided in reporters, said corruption and fraud “run in the DNA of our Vice Chancellor,” adding that since the fraud was uncovered, Mr. Ibhadode and other top management staff have been “running from pillar to post.”
According to a management staff of the institution, the scandal involves the N300 million National Economic Empowerment and Development Strategy (NEEDS) assessment fund granted to the institution. Rather than use the fund to finance building projects, it was diverted by Mr. Ibhadode and other staff of the university, the source explained.
“The NEEDS assessment fund was intended for the building of structures in the school, but this was not done,” the source said. “Over N300 million was diverted by the VC and his gang. Instead of using the money for the purpose it was meant for, my VC, in his usual fraudulent way of life, painted old structures in the school sponsored by the Tertiary Education Trust fund (TETFUND) some years back.
“On hearing that the NEEDS assessment officials from Abuja would be visiting the institution to see the structures the funds were used for, the VC hurriedly went to place the NEEDS logo and signboard on the projects to cover up his tracks, but unfortunately for him, the team discovered that the projects presented were sponsored by TETFUND some years back and immediately the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) was brought in,” the university source narrated to SaharaReporters.
SaharaReporters reports that Mr. Ibhadode and two senior management staff were arrested and quizzed a few weeks ago by the Rivers State zonal office of the EFCC in Port Harcourt.
Meanwhile, as at press time, all efforts to reach out to the EFCC spokesman, Wilson Uwujaren, were unsuccessful, as calls to his mobile phone were not answered. An EFCC source, however, confirmed the story, saying that the institution’s VC and others were arrested and quizzed over a N300m fraud.
When contacted, the Vice Chancellor confirmed that he and other staff had been quizzed by the EFCC in Port Harcourt, but denied that it was over a N300 million fraud.
“Yes, it’s true that we have been invited by the EFCC for questioning for about two times now at their Port Harcourt office over an issue, but certainly not connected to any N300 million fraud. Though there are so many issues surrounding the NEEDS assessment fund in the institution which I can tell you that I am not part of,” Mr. Ibhadode said.