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Rumpus at UMTH •EFCC called in to probe alleged corruption

Posted by By DIPO KEHINDE on 2005/11/18 | Views: 560 |

Rumpus at UMTH •EFCC called in to probe alleged corruption

An odour of corruption is in the air at the University of Maiduguri Teaching Hospital (UMTH), and the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) has been invited to find out if two top officials truly embezzled N1.589 billion within three years.

An odour of corruption is in the air at the University of Maiduguri Teaching Hospital (UMTH), and the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) has been invited to find out if two top officials truly embezzled N1.589 billion within three years.

A petition forwarded to EFCC, in September, drew attention to what it described as "corruption and embezzlement of public funds going on unabated at the UMTH, to the tune of N1.589 billion."
Those who have kept track of the gravy train also mentioned several banks and some private establishments among organisations that acted as conduit for the alleged "diverted funds."

The Federal Government was said to have been losing over N50 million monthly through payments to ghost workers, diversion of overhead allocation, capital subvention, duplication of payments of contractors, tax deductions not remitted to the Federal Inland Revenue Service, Maiduguri for three years and actions of officials who were allegedly feeding fat on the HIV/AIDS Retroviral Drugs Account.
Dissecting the anatomy of alleged corruption at the institution, the petition says in part:

"The actual total staff strength of the UMTH is 1,696, including junior and senior staff. But someone approved the submission of false nominal roll to the Committee on Budget of the Federal Ministry of Health (FMOH) thereby creating ghost workers. The false nominal roll shows the UMTH staff strength as 3,004, thereby inflating the actual figure by 1,308 ghost workers. This false submission has led to overestimation of the hospital budget on recurrent subvention for the past three years, creating excess money in the monthly subvention.

"Before the cut in the recurrent subvention for the Health Institutions nationwide, the UMTH was receiving a total of N115 million as monthly recurrent subvention from the Federal Government, while the actual monthly salaries for the hospital staff stood at N65 million, leaving unaccounted balance of N50 million monthly, which totals up to N600 million annually. This left over money is used in paying fake and fraudulent contracts. The excess is transferred from the recurrent account to various accounts of the UMTH maintained with some commercial banks…

"Even when the cut in the recurrent subventions to the Federal Health Institutions was in place, the recurrent allocation to the UMTH was N85 million, as against the actual staff salaries of N65 million, leaving a balance of N20 million monthly as excess allocation in the year 2003 and this was with the African International Bank, Maiduguri, before its closure in the same year."

Although the EFCC is keeping sealed lips on its investigation, further probes into leaked documents showed that with the implementation of the 2005 budget, the hospital’s recurrent subvention has further increased to N105 million from March 2005, while the actual staff salaries is N73 million at its peak, leaving excess allocation of N32 million from March 2005 to date. In addition, arrears of the increase from the 2005 budget from January to March 2005, amounting to N60 million was paid by the Federal Ministry of Finance to the hospital’s recurrent account maintained with Habib Nigerian Bank on Sir Kashim Ibrahim Road, Maiduguri.

The total excess recurrent money from January to July, 2005, stood at N156 million, and it is allegedly being transferred from the recurrent account to other commercial accounts of the hospital.
False salary voucher including ghost workers was said to have been prepared to cover for the excess recurrent allocation to the hospital. And a call is being made for the conduct of staff audit in order to know the actual number of staff at UMTH.

Officials of the institution also claimed that after payment of staff salaries, the authorities ordered payment from the excess money, of fake contracts to non-existent contractors.

Daily Sun also learnt that in 2003, a capital grant of N100 million was remitted to the hospital for the execution of the VAMED project being monitored by the presidency, in order to carry out repairs and renovations to the areas where equipment are going to be installed. But the grant was allegedly held for over a year, after which it was transferred to various hospital accounts with commercial banks without express approval from the Accountant General of the Federation stating reasons for the transfer

In 2004, N30 million was transferred from CBN to the Kidney Centre account with African International Bank, Maiduguri, which has been closed. Also in 2004, N50 million was transferred from CBN to the critical care centre account with FSB International Bank, Maiduguri and same year N20 million was transferred from CBN to the Hospital Recurrent Account with Africa International Bank, Maiduguri.
All the transfers made by the CBN Maiduguri, through CBN cheques to the various commercial bank accounts were said to have rendered losses of fund to the hospital.

The transfer of funds from CBN Maiduguri to AIB of N20 million was described as a loss because of the closure of AIB Maiduguri.
The finger of suspicion was also pointed at some officials of FMOH in Abuja, and a former permanent secretary is thought to be in a good position to explain in details what happened to some of the missing millions.

Also mentioned in the petition is a top finance staff at UMTH, who was accused of covering up some of the dirty deals.

The office of the Chief Medical Director, Dr Othman Kyari, was contacted several times on phone for about three weeks, and he only spoke through his secretary, one Mr Kachalla who neither confirmed nor denied the allegation.

Those who have signed the petition asking for the probe of the health institution also pointed out some minor deals involving the pension and gratuity account, the Federal Housing scheme and the withdrawal of N2 million in the name of one company from one of the hospital’s revenue accounts, even though no job or supplies were made by the firm.

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Comments (2)

Toluwalase Samuel Olufemi(Ijebu, Ogun, Nigeria)says...

Authority belongs to God, once He decrees it is final and binding

Ikponmwosa Osamede(Edo, Nigeria)says...

Your meaning of Osamede is wrong. Osamede means God has given me a crown