By Funmilayo Adeyemi
The former Acting Registrar, National Examinations Council (NECO), Abubakar Gana, has debunked allegations that he siphoned money from the council while acting as its registrar.
Gana was reacting to a report by Sahara Reporters, an online news media, dated Sept. 25, claiming that he siphoned N368.8 million generated during the June/July 2018 registration of SSCE.
Gana, in a statement in Abuja on Sunday, said 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.
” My attention has been drawn to a malicious report in which the online platform alleged that I siphoned N368, 875 million generated during the June/July 2018 registration of SSCE, while I was Acting Registrar of the National Examinations Council (NECO).
” Ordinarily, I won’t bother to dignify the half-truths and fabrications contained in the publication with a response, but for the purpose of setting the records straight.
” 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.
“When I took over the affairs of the council in 2018, the misappropriation was officially reported to me, a development that led to the setting up of both Management and Board Committees for investigation,” he said.
Gana said that upon 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, 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,” he said.
He added that under his administration as acting registrar of NECO, the council carried out major reforms and recorded significant strides.
He said between 2010 and 2017, NECO generated N900 million but in two years, over N2 billion was 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 N1,045,047,140.00 billion.
He said the council also abolished the use of scratch cards to ensure that monies generated go directly to the treasury single account and ensured reduction of examination registration fee from N11,350 to 9,850.
” My administration generated N600 million per annum from checking of result, from an initial N30 million. 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,” he added.