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Obaseki uncovers N2bn tax fraud, certificate racketeering in Ambrose Alli University

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The Ambrose Alli University (AAU) in Edo State, Nigeria, has been accused of engaging in corrupt practices by the management and staff of the institution, including a N2 billion alleged tax fraud, certificate, and transcript racketeering. The Edo State Governor, Mr. Godwin Obaseki, set up a special intervention team to look into the matter and meet global standards.

The team, headed by the managing director of Schlumberger Nigeria Ltd, Mr. Andrew Olotu, submitted an interim report to the Governor revealing that the university owed the Edo State government over N2 billion in unpaid taxes. The team alleged that AAU staff received more salaries compared to UNIBEN staff and did not pay taxes, and that all internally generated revenues (IGRs) and school fees collected were not accounted for, but instead, the money went into private pockets.

In addition, the report stated that overhead spending on diesel was a significant problem at AAU, and that staff took advantage of the bad electricity situation in Ekpoma to steal money from the treasury. The team also discovered that certificate and transcript racketeering was a thriving business in AAU, causing the university to have a bad image.

Furthermore, the report revealed that some students who graduated between 2019 and 2021 had not received their certificates because some people were collecting money from them. The team paid a loan of N330 million collected to pay salaries in 2021 and another N20 million meant for the purchase of special vehicles. The government had directed that the university should key into the Contributory Pension Scheme, but the staff refused to comply and continued with the normal pension.

Mr. Omobude Agho, a representative of civil society organizations in Edo State, commended the team for a great job and urged the Governor to ensure the immediate investigation and prosecution of those involved in the fraud in the state-owned varsity.

Governor Obaseki praised the team for their service to the State, emphasizing that the university belongs to the Edo people and not to a particular ethnic group. He vowed to restore the university to its glory days and the dreams of its late founder, Prof. Ambrose Alli, who positioned it as a state university.

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