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IMT: Corruption allegations rattle institute

For the management and students of the Institute of Management and Technology (IMT), Enugu, one of the foremost monotechnics in the country, this is not the best of times for the institution riddled with series of controversies.

For the management and students of the Institute of Management and Technology (IMT), Enugu, one of the foremost monotechnics in the country, this is not the best of times for the institution riddled with series of controversies.
The institution, which has produced prominent Nigerians who are shakers and movers in the public and private sectors of the nation’s economy, had in the recent past been enmeshed in one controversy or the other.
Piqued by this development, the state House of Assembly was said to have waded into the matter to rescue the institution and give it a new direction.
In a fresh controversy, the management was accused of charging compulsory hostel accommodation fee of N40,000 for new students, whether such accommodation is provided or not.
In fact, as part of the House’s oversight functions, the Speaker, Rt. Hon. Edward Ubosi, had on January 30 mandated the Chairman, House Committee on Education, Hon. Matthew Ugwueze, to investigate the various allegations levelled against the management of the state-owned monotechnic, especially the compulsory N40,000 hostel fee.
However, the six-member Committee set up by the House on February 27, to investigate the N40,000 hostel fee had since given the management, led by the Rector, Prof. Augustine Nweze a clean bill of health.
But, following the rejection of the report of the House Committee on Education, chaired by Hon. Ugwueze, for its failure to indict anyone, or the management, or the consultant handling the ICT project, the Speaker was forced to constitute an Ad-hoc Committee, headed by Hon. Chinedu Nwamba, representing Nsukka East with three weeks to look into the matter and report back to the House.
Following the crisis facing the institution, it has in the past few years failed to access the Tertiary Education Trust Fund (TETFund) allocations, which led to some abandoned projects on campus for which the institution is current confronted with the challenge of acute shortage of facilities.
Part of the terms of reference of the Committee, which has as members Hon. Matthias Ekweremadu and Hon. Emeka Ogbuabor, representing Aninri and Isi-Uzo Constituencies respectively, was to probe into the activities of the consultant handling ICT project, the Blue Tag Technology, as well as the N64 million refunded and who paid what.
Meanwhile, the ad-hoc committee, which wondered why the N64 million refunded was not captured in the earlier report, however said: “We have to clear certain things in order not to mislead the public.”
Indeed, the institution had persistently come under attack over corruption allegations, resulting to invitation of the Rector and other management staff to the Enugu zonal office of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC).
This was as stakeholders bemoaned the development and lamented that IMT once rated as the best in the country due to its high quality programmes and graduates, has deteriorated uncontrollably.
The incumbent Rector, Prof. Nweze, who took over from Prof. Mike Iloeje in June 2016, was said to have inherited various crisis ranging from high level of corruption, maladministration to allegation of sale of unapproved textbooks and handouts, leakage of examination question papers, as well as awarding of undeserved marks to students.
It was also reported that lecturers go to classes at will, while sexual harassment of female students and staff was rife in the institution.
Against this background, Nweze on assumption of office as IMT helmsman was said to have sternly warned members of staff that such misdemeanor would no longer be tolerated under his watch.
Specifically, at a retreat organised by the management in August 2017 for the staff, heads of departments/units on how to chart a new direction for the institution, the Rector informed members of staff and lecturers that the days of impunity were over, and warned that anyone caught involving in any of such infractions would be summarily dismissed from the institution and prosecuted.
In his riot acts, the Rector, however, cautioned that lecturers, who failed to turn in their students’ results on the specified time, would have their salaries withheld.
Nweze said at the retreat: “The worst crime in IMT is to leak question papers before any examination and such member of staff will be dismissed with ignominy. Going forward, any form of leakage would be frowned over. You have to submit your result sheets within one month after the semester examinations.
“We will not hesitate to withhold your salary if you do not submit your result on time. We have thus saved about N10 million through salary seizure from lecturers for not submitting their semester results on time.”
Nweze, who also warned that selling of handouts, had been outlawed in the institution, noted that a list of lecturers selling illegal handouts had already been compiled by the committee set up by his administration for that purpose.
The Rector further explained why he was so particular about stamping out corruption of any kind at IMT, for which according to him, he has become a frequent visitor to the EFCC over corruption and fraud allegedly committed in the institution.
“I have been invited by EFCC nine times,” he lamented, saying enough is enough of such nonsense.
Reeling out, what he described as code of conduct for the staff, the Rector outlawed the selling of books by lecturers directly to students, but through the school’s bookshops, and must be the textbooks approved by the school management.
However, despite the Rector’s outburst against corruption and other forms of sharp practices, the menace has not been completely stamped out from the institution as members of staff ordered to refund the monies extorted from the students were yet to refund such while the Rector seemed not to have done anything about it.
The committee raised by the Rector to investigate the sales of unapproved textbooks and other academic materials by the lecturers was said to have indicted some lecturers across all the departments.
The lecturers were said to refund about N1 million made through illegal sales of unapproved textbooks to students.
In view of this, some lecturers said to be infuriated by alleged silence of the Rector in handling the issue of corruption in the institution following his new approach to forgive all the erring lecturers, when in actual fact he fired two lecturers for allegedly leaking examination question papers.


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