The Independent Corrupt Practices and Other Related Offences Commission (ICPC), says it cannot reveal if there is any petition against Prof. Ignatius Onimawo, former Vice Chancellor of Ambrose Alli University (AAU), Ekpoma, Edo State.
But a painstaking investigation by our Correspondent, revealed that Onimawo was “a guest” of the ICPC July 5, 2021, at the Abuja office to defend series of financial fraud running into millions of Naira while in office as the Vice-Chancellor of AAU Ekpoma.
Three personal assistants whose private bank accounts were allegedly used to divert the University funds in large scale were also also named as actors in the scandal.
But the Head Public Relations Unit of ICPC in Abuja, Azuka Ogugua, said: “I cannot reveal if there is a petition against him. If he is invited or arrested, we will release a statement on that. Thank you”.
Recall that in May this year, Ambrose Alli University, Ekpoma, Special Visitation Panel indicted the immediate past Vice Chancellor of the institution for wrongfully appointed and promoted his wife, Mrs. Janet Onimawo and other cronies, against the rules of the University.
The panel noted that due process was not observed in the conversion and appointment of Mrs. Janet Onimawo, urging that the University Management puts in place modalities to ensure that “Lecturers who were improperly ranked at the point of appointment/transfer are given their proper ranks according to the qualification they possessed at point of entry”.
The panel, set up in October, 2020, was chaired by Prof. Ikponmwosa Omoruyi, a Professor of Law at the University of Benin. Prof. Lawrence Atsegbua, who is a member of the panel, is also a Professor of Law at the University of Benin and a Senior Advocate of Nigeria (SAN).
Others on the panel are Mrs. M. E. Ohiowele, Roland Ogbebor, Dr. J. O. Okovido and Venerable Osaze Egbenusi, as members, with Mrs. P. E. Aziegbemhin, as Secretary.
The panel, which was constituted by Governor Godwin Obaseki in the wake of the agitation by Staff Unions in the school and other Stakeholders in the University Community, was tasked to investigate operations of the University in terms of revenue generation, transparency, accountability, adherence to due process, mode of employment and promotions and sustainability.
In its report submitted to the Governor in March 2021, the panel recommended that the University Management “reverses the conversion/appointment of Mrs. Janet Onimawo from the post of Lecturer 1 to assistant Lecturer with effect from 29th September 2016, being the effective date of her wrongful conversion/appointment to the post considering her academic discipline and her qualifications at entry point”.
It further noted: “The University Management should put in place modalities to ensure that Lecturers who were improperly ranked at the point of appointment/transfer are given their proper ranks according to the qualification they possessed at point of entry.
“These rankings should be backdated to the dates of first appointment, while the remuneration shortfalls occasioned by wrong rankings should be paid to the affected candidates in arrears.
“The same must necessarily apply to all staff that benefitted from wrong placement at any point in time during the period covered by this Report”.