FULL DETAILS OF HIGH HANDEDNESS, FINANCIAL WRECKLESSNESS, AND ABUSE OF POWER BY THE PROF FRANCIS OTUNTA’S ADMINISTRATION AT THE MICHAEL OKPARA UNIVERSITY OF AGRICULTURE, MOUA, UMUDIKE.
By Ugonna Anejionu:
Another disturbing report has it that Otunta has converted 5 of the 2014 model Toyota corolla bought by the past administration to his personal use. It is alleged that he has even removed the official plate numbers on the vehicles and installed private numbers on them. It is also alleged that he has taken two of the vehicles to his village in Ebonyi state.
Zotic Nigeria LTD, located at No 39 Nkporo street, Umuahia Abia state is alleged to be a front company of Otunta as he uses it to do huge contracts in the university. His daughter as we were informed is a director in the company.
Another of his front companies allegedly is Efobic Global Resources LTD.
On the 1st of August, 2018, the Economic and financial crimes commission, EFCC in a letter invited Otunta for a chat on a petition against him captioned: RE: COMPLAINT OF FRAUDLENT ACTIVITIES,DIVERSION OF PUBLIC FUNDS, BRIBERY /CORRUPT PRACTICES,ECONOMIC SABOTAGE, MONEY LAUNDERING AND ABUSE OF OFFICE AGAINST PROF FRANCIS OTUNTA, VICE CHANCELLOR, MICHAEL OKPARA UNIVERSITY OF AGRICULTURE, MOUA, UMUDIKE AND ALSO DURING HIS TENURE AS RECTOR OF FEDERAL POLYTHECHNIC UWANA IN AFIKPO FOR EIGHT YEARS. The letter which was signed by Oshodi Johnson, for the Zonal head, south east zone, Enugu directed otunta to report to the under signed on the 13th of August, 2018 by 10am.
This magazine was also informed that Otunta has also been severally quizzed by other anti graft agencies including the ICPC.
Unconfirmed report has it that Otunta issued a female student girlfriend of his with a backdated graduation certificate and also flew her abroad to seal the scandals of her getting pregnant for him. It is rumoured that the wife was so enraged as she confessed in her church, the Assemblies of God church, Umudike chapter that her husband impregnated a 3rd year accounting student in 2017/2018 session and that she in anger failed most of the students of that session in her ‘Business Law’ which she teaches in the university. The colleagues of the said student are said to be in their final year now. The student in question was admitted in the 2015/2016 academic session. The petitioners asked stakeholders to identify the student by cross checking certificates of 2012 to 2018 and the names of those who matriculated between 2012 and 2018.
For further clarification, authentic students records can be obtained from the university’s exams and records, Registry, Bursary, Medical, Library, Examination scripts, Final year project report Graduands list given to NYSC and accreditation list containing names of students given to the National university commission.
Hilary Odo Edeoga, a professor and immediate past vice chancellor of the institution in a telephone chat with verbatim said he has served out his tenure as vice chancellor and has handed over to another adding that it is not proper to speak on him as he believes that every man’s work shall speak for him. Edeoga said he did his best for the growth of the institution adding that every man will be judged by his achievements.
Ikechukwu Azuogu, secretary, senior staff association of Nigerian universities, SSANU told Verbatim in a chat that nothing is working in the university at the moment.
Azuogu said that salaries in the institution are paid in fractions insisting that it is wrong to say that salaries are paid in full unless other packages like excess work load, over time, hazard and others alike are built into the salaries.
He said the staff of the institution are not happy over the deductions on their salaries adding that the university management is owing the four cooperatives in the university over 400 million Naira insisting that they must pay the said amount.
He also added that it is very saddening that deductions on loans taken from banks are not accounted for hinting that union check off dues deducted are not remitted to the appropriate unions which he described as most unfair.
Beyond these, Otunta is also accused of budget padding as he is accused of adding 8 steps to the salaries of most Professors on level 7 which allegedly is not their real step. Their actual salaries are paid to them while the extra steps that were built in are not accounted for.
Same applies to the other staff of the university as some of them on grade level 2 step 2 have their steps moved up to step 9 to the astonishment of the staff who wonder where the extra millions go to monthly.
He was also accused of spending 10 million Naira on his birthday party, approved 16 million Naira for himself for medical check and falsification of age which became evident on the 29th April, 2018 when he celebrated his 60th birthday. Already, he had claimed 59 years in 2015 when he applied for the position of the vice chancellor.
He was also accused of chairing inaugural lectures even when he has not delivered an inaugural lecture within his short stay at the university of Benin as a professor before his appointment as the rector of Akanu Ibiam federal polytechnic in Uwanna Afikpo, Ebonyi state.
On the other hand, Otunta was also accused of non commitment to academic standards and also accreditation of courses which has drastically affected the young graduates of the university while the university has allegedly remained stagnant under his stewardship as he has not delivered any project or infrastructure in the university since his appointment.
Efforts by verbatim to secure an appointment for an interview session with Otunta failed as he pushed his men, William Aguguo, the university legal officer, Mr Samuel Arua, his Special Assistant and Barr Emma Ukaegbu, the university external legal adviser to plead for time to enable the vice chancellor prepare for the chat.
Presently, the prayer of both the staff and students of the institution and in fact stake holders in Abia is that the federal government should urgently remove Otunta to save the university from further collapse and also prosecute him for all the alleged atrocities he had committed in his short stay as the vice chancellor of the university.