The Authorities of the University of Calabar (UNICAL) on Monday suspended the bursar, Mr. Peter Agi, over allegations of fraud, forgery, and threat to life.
Following a recent protest in the school, an inquiry was set up by the management of the institution to look into issues that led to the protest by different groups comprising students and workers in support of the Vice-Chancellor, Prof. Zana Akpagu. and the bursar, on the other.
In a letter of suspension signed by the Registrar, Mr. Moses Abang, the management of the institution alleged that the bursar had been found guilty of impersonating the vice-chancellor on the e-payment platform of the Central Bank of Nigeria, among others.
The letter of suspension reads: ”In an Emergency Meeting of Management held today, August 22, 2016, Management considered recent developments on campus especially your arrest by the Nigeria Police vide letter no. AB:3621/CRS/DFA/VOL.T/123 of August 17, 2016, on allegations of fraud, forgery, and threat to life, it has become imperative that you step aside as Bursar and clear yourself of these allegations.
“Furthermore, Management observed that you have been impersonating the Vice-Chancellor on the CBN e-payment platform by making final approvals and payments, a duty that is the responsibility of the Vice-Chancellor who is the Chief Accounting Officer of the University. Bank transactions and alerts are still being forwarded to the immediate past Vice-Chancellor, Prof. James Epoke without the Vice Chancellor’s knowledge.
“Again, you absented yourself from office without requesting any of your Deputies to act for you, thus creating a vacuum in the administration of the Bursary. Rather, in a circular of 18th August 2016, you requested members of the University community who need you for official business to do so by reaching you on your phone number. This is absurd and not acceptable anywhere.
“To further compound matters, you have as well:(1) Deliberately orchestrated measures aimed at ensuring that the University loses accreditation of its Medical Programmes by refusing to purchase buses for the Departments of Public Health and Community Medicine.
“This is a major requirement for accreditation and Council had directed you several times on this yet you bluntly refused to comply. (2) Deliberately refused to purchase an official car for the Deputy Vice-Chancellor (Administration) 8 months after he was appointed into office. You have ignored several Council and Management directives on this. (3) Deliberately refused to purchase an official car for the Dean of Graduate School even when the Graduate School designed measures to internally generate revenue for this purpose.
“You have consistently ignored Management’s directives with impunity. (4) Bluntly refused to pay TETFUND contractors who have successfully executed jobs and rendered services to the University even when such contractors have been cleared for payments. The consequence of this is that while other Universities are already making progress and accessing the 2015 allocation, the University of Calabar cannot exhaust the 2013 allocation to qualify for the next tranche. (5) Illegally mobilized and brought into campus a group of non-staff/students including suspected cultists, some of whom have been charged to court.
“These your “supporters” violently molested staff and beat up Journalists who were at the scene of the incident and even damaged their camera (as stated in the security report and reported in the media). (6) Unilaterally granted press interviews on matters relating to the University without clearance from appropriate authorities. (7) Callously and with utter disregard of Vice Chancellor’s directives by refusing to pay staff entitlements even when due process has been followed before approval. (8) You were issued a query on August 17, 2016 Ref. UC/R.45A to offer an explanation of your misdeeds on Campus on Monday, August 15, 2016. When your staff told you that you have a mail, you requested for the content of the mail to be read to you.
“Thereafter, you requested for the letter to be brought to you. You read the letter and returned it through the same staff to your office and directed that they should inform whoever cares that they could not deliver the mail to you. As a follow up you left definite instruction with the security man in your house not to receive any mail meant for you. As a consequence, the other copy mailed to you by courier was rejected by your gatemen.
“These actions of yours are a clear manifestation of an orchestrated and deliberate design to bring to ridicule, the image of the University of Calabar and indeed to cripple its progress as an institution. Management cannot continue to close its eyes on these misdeeds and allow the University to crumble.
“Management has therefore resolved that you should be placed on suspension. You are therefore suspended as Bursar of the University of Calabar with effect from Monday, August 22, 2016. You are to handover immediately to Mrs. Atim Mensah who is the most senior Deputy Bursar while Mr. Joseph Odum is to take over the previous duties covered by Mrs. Mensah. By this letter of suspension, Council is being briefed accordingly.”
Reacting to the letter, the Bursar told newsmen: “I am not aware of any suspension. I have not been queried. I am aware of the guideline and rules on procedures for the appointment, suspension or otherwise of any principal officer of the university.
”I am currently on sick break and I wrote a letter to that effect copying all principal officers. So, for anybody to announce my suspension without the set rules amounts to nothing. I am still the bursar,” he added.