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N1.05bn alleged irregular withdrawal, before my appointment’ MAN Rector

Rector of the Maritime Academy of Nigeria (MAN) Oron, Cdr. Duja Effedua has dismissed a report by an online social media which mischievously attributed an alleged irregular withdrawal of N1.05billion from the Academy’s account to his administration, noting that the alleged transaction took place before his appointment.

The Rector informed that he has already shown appearance at the Senate Committee on Public Accounts that is probing the controversial withdrawal, where he told the committee that those in the know of the transaction in the Academy have so far frustrated his attempts to gather the necessary information to pass to senate.

While expressing disappointment at the malicious manner those fighting him got paid media agents to twist the story out of context, in their rabid attempts to discredit and blackmail him, the Rector said the truth however is in the public domain, through professional reportage by a number of traditional media outlets and dailies.

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Some journalists had gone to town with the twisted version that Effedua was been probed by the Senate, despite that the Rector inherited the alleged transaction, and despite indication that he has requested the committee to join hands with the Academy administration to identify those responsible for the alleged withdrawal, for purposes of answering for their action.

The investigation by the Senate Committee on Public Accounts chaired by Senator Mathew Urhoghide was premised on a query by the Office of Auditor-General Report (OAG), which exposed the alleged mismanagement, as captured under 2018 Audited Report.

According to the audit report, while the sum of N457 million was released to the Academy on 13th December 2012, the audit report claimed it was irregularly diverted to United Bank for Africa (UBA) with account number 1006476693.

The audit report in addition said the sum of N608 million was also irregularly withdrawn from account number 02550040000037 with the UBA; without stating the purpose for the withdrawal. While the OAG said “All efforts made by the audit team to sight the bank statement supporting documents for utilisation of the fund and other relevant details proved abortive”, Effedua assured the senate committee of his commitment to work with them to unravel what actually transpired.

Effedua affirmed that the allegations against the institution is grievous but noted that staff of the Academy who may have been privy to the said transaction are not giving him information on what transpired, adding that neither was the said withdrawal contained in any memo for his attention.

Effedua explained that whereas he is not in a position to defend the controversial transaction, he noted that the Academy does not keep fund in commercial banks, in view of the treasury single account (TSA) policy regime.

While the sensational report intended to create mischief by twisting the story to make it appear that the current Academy Rector is the one being probed, Effedua explained that he told the senate committee of his predicament flowing from the sheer amount of hatred he has suffered since arriving the Academy to clean up the place.

His words, “I told the senate committee that they are not talking to me at the Academy. You are aware of the grand conspiracy to get me out by all means for blocking existing leakages l met. I have become number one enemy, so even if there are staff members that know, none has given me information.

“Like l also told the committee members, there was no handover note that addressed the issue. l need their help to be able to carry out the investigation.

“I came to kick start something I don’t have any information about, they will frustrate every effort to get to root of the matter. I want an ad-hoc Committee to be set up to get to the root of the matter.”

Whereas findings indicated that some of the infractions contained in the audit report dates back to 2011 through 2017 before the appointment of Effedua, the Independent newspaper report appeared cast on sensationalism to mislead the general public.

The said infractions which were believed to have passed through two rectors before Effedua, and which was merely captured in the 2018 Audit Report, could not logically have bearing with the present management.

This critical point was sufficiently captured by other newspaper reports including respected traditional dailies.

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