The Executive Secretary, Tertiary Education Trust Fund, TETFund, Prof. Suleiman Bogoro, has dismissed reports churned out by online newspaper, SaharaReporters, which accused the agency of malpractices in the conduct of staff promotion exercise and non-publication of disbursement of funds on its website.
According to a statement made available to journalists by the Acting Director, Public Affairs of TETFund, Mr Abdulmumin Oniyangi said the reports, which were mere figment of imaginations of the authors, were done in bad faith.
The statement read in full : “The attention of the Management of Tertiary Education Trust Fund (TETFund) has been drawn to two publications issued by Sahara Reporters titled “Workers of Nigeria’s Tertiary Education Trust Fund Agency Allege Corruption, Infraction in Promotion Examinations” published on November 3, 2021 and “How Nigeria’s Education Fund, TETFund Covered Up Disbursements of Multi-Billion Naira Fund, Allocations from 2013 published on November 11, 2021.
“While the Management of TETFund chose not to respond to the first publication because it was masterminded in bad faith by a few staff of the Fund who did not meet the minimum mark prescribed for the examination conducted by the Joint Admissions and Matriculations Board (JAMB), it has become imperative to set the records straight in view of the second publication which we perceive is also sponsored by the staff to deliberately discredit the management of the Fund and mislead our stakeholders and the public at large.
“On conduct of promotion examinations by the Fund, we wish to state that in line with best practices, independent examination bodies such as the Administrative Staff College of Nigeria (ASCON) and JAMB have over the years been engaged by the Fund to ensure transparency and non-interference in the process.
“For the 2021 senior staff promotion examination conducted by the Fund, ASCON was originally engaged to offer refresher courses and conduct examinations for participants. However, there were widespread complaints and petitions regarding the outcome of the examination addressed not only to the Fund but the Federal Ministry of Education, which is the Fund’s supervisory ministry.
“We, therefore, wish to state categorically that the decision to conduct a fresh examination organized by JAMB was taken after the review and directive issued by the Federal Ministry of Education and not for reasons perceived by the sponsors of the publication.
“Additionally, the setting of higher minimum criteria for the examination does not in any way contravene the provisions of the Public Service Rules which only recommend minimum standards.
” On the second publication which alleges cover-up of disbursements by the Fund and that intervention allocations to colleges of education, polytechnics and universities were last released in 2013, we wish to state emphatically that nothing could be farther from the truth.
“Details of Reconciled Projects and funds allocated for staff development programmes such as TETFund Scholarship for Academic Staff, Teaching Practice and Conference Attendance for all beneficiary institutions across the six geo-political zones as at 30th June 2020 can be found on the Fund’s website under Publications – PI Reconciled Projects/AST&D Projects.
“It would be absurd to imagine that the allegation of cover-up was true and there were no agitations by heads of the various public tertiary institutions in the country, the Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU) which agitated for the creation of the Fund, other unions in our beneficiary institutions and indeed our various stakeholders.
“To demonstrate his commitment to transparency and accountability, you would recall that the Executive Secretary in 2019 set up an independent Technical Assessment Committee on Impact Assessment (TACIA) to objectively examine the activities of the Fund from 1999 to 2019, including funds received by the Fund, disbursements and impact of the Fund’s intervention among others.
“The Fund has always made it a duty to regularly keep the public abreast of its activities in various platforms and only recently organized a Taxpayers’ Forum in Lagos to give account of funds received and allocated. It shall continue to strive to utilize even more diverse platforms for dissemination of information.
“While Management respects the viewpoints and genuine interests of its stakeholders including the press, it is important that we endeavour to encourage and not denigrate a brand that is widely acclaimed by various stakeholders as a model.”