By Inyali Peter
Investigation into the activities of University of Calabar, (UNICAL) former Bursar, Peter Agi has revealed that he allegedly bought eight (8) exotic cars in two years worth over 7 million each.
Prior to his appointment, Agi according to findings had only two cars but within the space of two years when he assumed office as Bursar, he reportedly bought 8 cars with the least valued at seven million naira (N7,000 000).
This shocking details was contained in a petition written by the Dirctor, Institute of Public Policy and Administration, UNICAL, Edem Ebong on the 7th of September, 2016 and forwarded to the joint Senate/Council committee set up to investigate him (Agi).
Agi has been regularly accussed of living an extravagant life that his salary and allowances couldn't have afforded.
As a bursar, he was on a monthly salary of N452,000.00 with an annual pay of N5, 4,24000 (Five million, four hundred and twenty four thousand naira).
His imprest initially was N100,000 but on the 15th of April 2016, the Vice Chancellor, Prof. Zana Akpagu generously increased it by one hundred percent; that's from N100,000 to N200,000. This means that his annual imprest was N2.4 million (Two million, four hundred thousand).
However, imprest is not his personal due. It is an allowance for the running of the day to day activities of the bursary department. So, it won't be correct to say that his annual pay was N7,824000 (Seven million, eight hundred and twenty four thousand) when the imprest and his salary is added together. But even if it were, such wouldn't have afforded him the fleets of cars he acquired in two years with the least valued at seven million naira.
Apart from Agi's fleets of cars and his extravagant lifestyle, it is alleged that he acquired so many landed properties within and outside Cross River State. This include a bungalow in 8miles, Calabar worth millions of naira that Police investigation uncovers. The Police report said his salary couldn't have afforded him such 'mighty' bungalow. How he got the money to acquire all the cars and landed properties has left many in shock.
This is a disturbing situation especially considering the strong anti-corruption stance of the President Muhammadu Buhari's administration. Public office holders should be made to give accurate account of their stewardship. Therefore, the revelation about the neferous actvitivies of Agi calls for serious investigation.
Although, he already has hundreds of petitions and allegation of fraud leveled against him by the university and it's different units, making him face the wrath of the law if guilty would not only serve as deterrent to other public office holders and civil servants, but would be a credit to Buhari's anti-corruption war.
Already, the October 19th 2016 Police report has revealed some shocking financial misappropriation by Agi. As a typical Nigerian with corruption case, Agi, in desperation rushed to court to obtain an interlocutory injunction restraining the Police from further investigation.
But before the restraining order, the Police had investigated a petition sent by Comrade Godwin Nyiam, the Protocol officer of the university and has discovered that until his removal, Agi was the only signatory to the Single Treasury Account (TSA) of the university.
The Police also discovered that the E-payment platform of Central Bank of Nigeria, CNB of the institution was exclusively accessed by only the Bursar. This may sound absurd but this was how Agi operated the university account as though he was managing his personal business. The Vice Chancellor who is the Chief Executive/Accounting Officer of the University had no access to TSA or CBN E-payment platform.
Similarly, the Police uncovered an evidence of transfer of the sum of three million one hundred and eleven thousand, six hundred and ninety naira (N3,111,690.00) from the university account to a First Bank Account belonging to one Mrs. Isioma Peter Agi on the 7th of July 2016.
The beneficiary is alleged to be Agi's wife who is neither a staff nor a contractor of the university. How and why Agi transfered money from the university account to her account without due authorization from superior authority left many wondering. No wonder, Ebong stated conspicuously in his petition that "Our money under Agi is not save".
The Police also discovered the bungalow located in 8miles, Calabar which was made reference to earlier. The report said " The sum of four hundred and fifty two thousand Naira (N452, 000.00) being the monthly salary of the suspect cannot afford his ultramodern bungalow located at 8miles".
If a man who prior to his appointment as Bursar hadn't any known business or source(s) of income apart from his meager salary as a staff in bursary department of the university can amass such wealth within a short period of time, then there's more to his activities than meet the eyes.
In fact, he was barely four years as a staff of the university before he was made the bursar. His short sting with Leventis, a Private organization in Lagos before his employment in UNICAL didn't end well so he wouldn't have acquired such wealth before his appointment as Bursar.
Whether the high level of irregularities and alleged fraud that surrounded the bursary department under his watch is due to his inexperience is left to be seen. According to the university law, the office of bursar is exclusively for staff who have attained the position of deputy bursar. But Agi, in what can be best described as employment error/fraud became a bursar with little or no experience on how a university bursar is expected to work.
The allegation of fraud has always been on Agi's neck right from the manner he got his employment into the university. The university law stipulates that anybody employed as a graduate should be placed in level 07. But his case was fraudulently different. As at when he was employed he was placed in level 13. The parameter used in giving him such rapid promotion was seriously questioned at the time.
The cliché that without a solid foundation, no structure can stand has obviously been noticed in Agi's reign. He got into the university and climbed to the position of a bursar in a faulty foundation and today, the university is paying dearly for this.
Today, Agi may just be the richest former bursar in the history of UNICAL. Perhaps, his fleets of cars and landed properties may be acquired through other means. But before such assumption can be taken seriously, he should first succinctly explain how he bought eight cars in two years with a net worth relatively lower than the least valued car. He should also explain how he built the multimillion naira bungalow.
Until then, he will remain an unavoidable candidate of the anti-corruption agencies.