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Reps investigate financial impropriety in agric institute

The Institute of Agricultural Research and Training (IAR&T), an arm of Obafemi Awolowo University (OAU) has been placed on Status Inquiry by the House of Representatives committee on public accounts.

The Committee Chairman, Mr Wole Oke, gave the ruling at the end of an investigative hearing into the audit query issued by the office of the Auditor General of the Federation.

Mr Oke, said the presentation of the executive director of the institute, Professor Veronica Obatola, at the hearing, was flawed and inconsistent.

He observed that a N21 million purportedly released in the 2018 budget as against the N50 million appropriated did not tally with the over N400 million captured as expenditure in the Institution’s financial report.

Though the executive director said the institute never received any loan, grant or aid, this was proved to be incorrect.

During a scrutiny of the audit reports, evidences showed that aids running into millions of naira were received.

Though Prof. Obatola tried to explain that it was research grant meant for a specific purposes, the committee insisted that grants represent an inflow of revenue and must be captured in the account books.

The chairman constituted a four man sub-committee to be led by the Deputy Chairman, Abdulkadir Sa’ad to visit the institute on Friday, to examine its books and mode of operations, including assessment of infrastructure.

Ibrahim SHEHU

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