By NBF News
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A fresh crisis is in the offing at the Obafemi Awolowo University (OAU), Ile-Ife, over the controversial double deductions of workers' pension contribution by the university authorities.

The university workers had kicked against the directive by the Independent Corrupt Practices and Other Related Offences Commission (ICPC), that the N687 million discovered in fixed accounts operated by the university should be returned to the Federal Government purse.

Operating under the aegis of Joint Executive Committee of Staff Unions (JECOSUN), the aggrieved workers had petitioned the anti-graft agency over what it called 'double deductions of pension contribution by the university administration' since 2004.

But in a recent report of its investigations signed by Chief Simeon Oguntimehin, ICPC dismissed the allegation that the university administration doubly deducted pension contribution of its workers. According to the commission, there was 'no illegal or double deductions by the university authority. But in another part of the report, ICPC, however, pointed out that it discovered movement of funds from the salary account, which 'were done in such a way that the amount moved tallied with the exact monthly pension deductions already made at source by the Federal Government.'

While confirming a discovery of a whopping amount of over N687 million lodged in three fixed accounts, in three commercial banks in Ile-Ife, and operated by the university since 2004, the anti-graft commission stated that vouchers for the lodgement of the money were 'wrongly captured and misleading as being deductions of pension from staff salary.'

But in its reaction to the report, through a document signed by JECOSUN President, Dr. Ife Adewunmi and exclusively obtained by Daily Sun in Osogbo, the workers frowned at the position of the anti-graft agency that the discovered money should be returned to federal government.

The workers particularly expressed dissatisfaction with alleged attempt by the commission to give a soft landing to 'fraudulent and misappropriation of funds by the university administration.' In paragraph 7 of Section 4.5 of the ICPC report, the ICPC statement said: '…while transferring the funds from the salary account, the narrations stated on the payment vouchers were wrongly captured and misleading as stated therein' cannot be true.

'Indeed, it is laughable in the sense that a 'highly qualified' accountant in the university bursary is presented as being naïve and incapable of knowing the correct caption for preparing payment vouchers, not once, not twice but every month!

'This statement is, with all due respect, highly mischievous. The truth of the matter is that the payment vouchers were for deductions of an equivalent of 7.5 per cent of consolidated workers salaries from the personnel cost account (PCA) monthly and correctly stated on the vouchers. His was corroborated by the findings of ICPC on the funds lodged as fixed deposit in various banks,' the union stated.

The workers fumed that the lodged monies in the discovered 'fixed deposit accounts and rolled over for over two years' was not only fraudulent but 'indicative that the university administration is callous, inhuman and insensitive to the welfare of its workers.