An investigation by The Realm News has revealed massive embezzlement of tens of billions of naira belonging to the Abia State College of Education Technology Arochukwu (ASCETA) by the provosts with the aid of Abia State government.
These were monies realised from the Tertiary Education Fund (TETFUND) and also monthly subventions from the state government.
Documents seen by our undercover reporter revealed that ASCETA management received, as monthly subventions from the state government, the sum of N15.5 million from 2007 until 2009 when Bishop Rochas Uwadi requested that it should be increased to N19.5 million in the fifth council.
Among the massive corruption discovered by The Realm News were the N287 million and N311 million special intervention TETEFUND grants attracted in 2012 by the then Senate committee chairman on education, the late Senator Uche Chukwumerije.
These were properly explained to our reporter by one of the governing council members who craved anonymity.
“Senator Chukwumerije attracted School of Technical Education; a big building worth N287 million through TETFUND to ASCETA. Afterwards, the college went through due process to advertise bidding,” he said.
He further revealed that the contractors who excelled were appropriated by the governing council and mandated by the provost to communicate to TETFUND.
“Regrettably, the then provost, Dr C. N. Nwamuo, from Isieke, Ibeku took laws unto his hands, wrote to TETFUND and forwarded Easyharis Nigeria Ltd. as the winner of the bid to the bewilderment of the ASCETA governing council,” he said.
He further added that Easyharis Nigeria Ltd. scored 37 per cent out the 70 per cent cut-off mark required by both TETFUND and BPP standards for the award of such contract.
“That daylight fraud by Nwamuo destroyed the future of the project, ASCETA and that of the late Senator Chukwumerije,” our source said.
According to him, “Easyharis is an aluminium window setting company. How Nwanuo deemed the company qualified and appropriate to execute an N311 million Sen. Chukwumerije special intervention TETFUND project was unfathomable.”
The Realm News understands that when the project commenced, substandard building materials were used and it led to the collapsed of part of the building.
“When Senator Chukwumerije came for oversight visit and saw how his project was messed up, he furiously stormed out of ASCETA and confronted the then governor, Chief Theodore A. Orji at the Government House, Umuahia.
“He asked the governor why he connived with the provost, Nwamuo, to embezzle the funds for his project. It was messy, they had a serious heated argument,” our source told our reporter.
He continued: “That heated argument and exchange of words cost Sen. Chukwumerije the Peoples’ Democratic Party (PDP) ticket in 2015. Ochendo (as T. A. Orji is nicknamed) ensured that Mao Ohuabunwa got the ticket ahead of Chukwumerije.
“With the loss, Chukwumerije suffered a heart attack and eventually died. That was why Chukwumerije’s family rejected the state burial organised the T. A. Orji’s government.”
The ASCETA Board Council member also alleged that the former provost, Nwamuo, started the embezzlement of ASCETA funds from the time Professor Nkemakolam made him the deputy provost.
“The then Administration Block project fund under Nwamuo was mismanaged. Let him come out and show us the Admin Block,” he said.
He said the first intervention was N287 million, the second was N311 million.
“The provost embezzled N263 million. At least I was a governing council member then and Ochendo dissolved our council based on our insistence that Nwamou should not be returned as provost.
“The then Chief Security Adviser, Mr Ukpai, and some elements in T. A. Orji’s government concocted lies that the council was proposing a demonstration with the College of Education Academic Staff Union (COEASU) and NASS body for the non-payment of the seven months’ salary backlogs then. The Department of State Security (DSS) Chief of Arochukwu was mandated to write a report that suited their plan,” he said.
Coming up next Monday. How Governor Orji instructed Nwamuo to use student account in First Bank to borrow funds. What happened to the borrowed funds and the role of the EFCC. Don’t miss it!