Abubakar Gana, a former Acting Registrar of National Examinations Council, has debunked allegations that he siphoned N368m belonging to the organisation.
SaharaReporters had reported how Gana connived with some senior officials of NECO to divert about N368m generated by the council from the 2018 June/July SSCE registration fees between June and December 2018.
A source said the former Acting Registrar in collaboration with the Director of Finance and Accounts, Jacob Samuel Ekele, and the then Acting Director of Examination Administration, Mustapha K. Abdul, diverted the money away from the council’s coffers under the pretence that the amount represented a revenue loss as a result of ‘missing’ 32,500 units of 2018 June/July SSCE registration cards (worth N368,875,000) in NECO office Ibadan, Oyo state.
But Gana in a statement on Sunday said he fought corruption in the examination council and the alleged misappropriation was officially reported to him on assumption of office in 2018, a development that led to the setting up of both management and board committees to carry out investigations.
“For the avoidance of doubt, I was appointed as Acting Registrar of NECO on May 10, 2018 while the purported incident occurred on December 18, 2017, at least, five months before my appointment. It must, however, be put on record that the infractions were uncovered by the council in 2017 under the watchful eyes of former Registrar, Prof Charles Uwakwe, but nothing was done to bring the perpetrators to book.
“Upon our investigations, two officials of the council were indicted and thereby recommended for dismissal. Not satisfied with the outcome of the investigation, the officials petitioned the Senate Committee on Ethics and Privileges in the eight Assembly, which also found them culpable of misappropriation but however pleaded for leniency, a request that was rejected by the board.
“How could I have stolen money before my appointment as Registrar? My administration fought corruption to a standstill by ensuring that monies generated by the council went straight to the Treasury Single Account of the Federal Government. Under my administration as Acting Registrar of NECO, the council carried out major reforms and recorded significant strides. Between 2010 and 2017, NECO generated N900m but in two years, we returned over N2bn, generated as proceeds from the conduct of examination, to the federation account with outstanding states indebtedness to the council for 2018 and 2019 growing up to N1,045,047,140.00bn.
“The council also abolished the use of scratch cards to ensure that monies generated go directly to the treasury single account. It also worked to ensure reduction of examination registration fee from N11,350 to 9,850. My administration generated N600m per annum from checking of result, from an initial N30m. For the first time, the council audited itself and dismissed over 100 staff with fake certificates.
“The only sin I committed was to carry out a presidential directive by dismissing the erring staff, who have now made me a target of their campaign of calumny.”
SaharaReporters, New York