The Tertiary Education Trust Fund (TETFund) executive secretary, Prof. Elias Bogoro, on Wednessday, disclosed that a total of N10 billion meant for high impact projects in selected tertiary institutions has been mopped up for re-disbursement.
According to him, the money was part of amount meant for high impact projects, but regretted that some of the benefiting tertiary institutions were stockpiling the allocated funds for several years without utilizing it for purposes they were meant for.
Bogoro disclosed this when the House of Representatives Committee on Tertiary Education, led by its Chairman, Hon. Aminu Suleiman, paid an oversight visit to the agency.
He equally noted that the mopped-up funds will be redistributed to tertiary institutions, taking all institutions in all the geo-political zones into consideration.
Prof Bogoro further debunked insinuations that the Fund has not been equitable in the disbursement of interventions, nationwide, saying all universities, polytechnics and colleges of education get equal amount of allocations at any given time.
He said in 2013, a total sum of N359billion was withdrawn from the coffers of the Fund without specific reasons.
Bogoro also noted that since the deductions were made, it has had negative impact on the intervention agency, hence the Fund has had to file various petitions to the Ministry of Finance and the National Assembly, all in a bid to recover the money from the government.
Responding to questions from the legislators on discrepancies in the administrative cost of the Fund, Bogoro allayed fears of financial impropriety in the agency, insisting that the Board of Trustees(BOT) gives approval before funds are disbursed.
TETFund is empowered by the Education Tax Fund (Amendment) Act No. 17, 2003 to judiciously manage and disburse the 2 percent assessable profits accruing from all registered companies in Nigeria, specifically for public tertiary institutions.
Bogoro said it was regrettable that various narratives have trailed the missing funds, such that some persons have mischievously ascribed the funds to him when they had no facts to back their allegations.
“Under the guise of borrowing, if you add up total sum of N359billion was taken out between September and December 2013 without any consultation, whatsoever, but with the Treasury Single Account(TSA) coming into place 2015, a lot more things have changed.
“On that amount, I think there was about N128billion taken out in one tranche that had nothing to do with education, we had to write the Ministry of Finance requesting for the money, it was even ascribed to me by some mischievous persons.
“We, however, appreciate the National Assembly members for their concerns and efforts to see that these monies are refunded to us by this year, because it will help our accounts to be more balanced”.