Home » How Ex-FRIN Boss Allegedly Looted Public Assets and Got Away With It

How Ex-FRIN Boss Allegedly Looted Public Assets and Got Away With It

A report by FIJ exposes how ex-FRIN boss Shola Adepoju allegedly looted public assets and violated procurement law

by Motoni Olodun

Shola Adepoju, the former Director-General of the Forestry Research Institute of Nigeria (FRIN), is facing serious allegations of fraud and mismanagement. He is accused of diverting government-owned vehicles and equipment for personal gain, violating the procurement law, and attempting to secure an illegal third term in office.

According to a report by the Foundation for Investigative Journalism (FIJ), a not-for-profit organization, Adepoju abused his position and power to enrich himself and his cronies at the expense of the public interest. The report exposed how Adepoju and his collaborators undervalued and acquired FRIN’s assets without following due process.

The report also revealed how Adepoju tried to extend his tenure for a third term, despite the FRIN establishment act that limits the Director-General to two terms of four years each. Adepoju, who led FRIN from March 31, 2015, to March 31, 2023, could not secure a third term after facing resistance from the staff and the Ministry of Environment.

The FIJ report corroborates previous allegations against Adepoju by the Academic Staff Union of Research Institutions (ASURI), which accused him of illegal contract awards and job racketeering. The House of Representatives also investigated illegal recruitment and job racketeering in federal government agencies, with Adepoju being among the individuals and agencies under scrutiny.

The FIJ report detailed how Adepoju and his collaborators undervalued FRIN’s vehicles and equipment before acquiring them. For instance, a Toyota Prado purchased in 2019 for N78 million was valued at only N7 million. The report also showed how some valuable agricultural equipment went missing after Adepoju left the institute.

The report alleged that Adepoju and Olufemi Michael Hastrup, the institute’s Human Resources Director, illegally acquired these assets. Hastrup was said to have purchased a Land Cruiser with an official number plate belonging to the office of the Director-General. Hastrup claimed that due process was followed in the asset disposal, but he refused to disclose the purchase price.

The report also claimed that Adepoju diverted the remaining vehicles for personal use. The vehicles were reportedly sold at unreasonably low prices, casting doubt on the transparency of the process.

The Public Procurement Act 2007 outlines the procedures for disposing of public assets in Nigeria. Section 55 (3) of the law emphasizes open competitive bidding as the primary method for selling public property. However, Adepoju and his collaborators did not adhere to these regulations and did not advertise the assets for auction. This has raised suspicions that the process was not transparent and may have been manipulated to benefit a select few.

If found guilty in a court of law, Adepoju, Hastrup, and others involved in the process may face at least five years incarceration without the option of a fine. They could also be summarily dismissed from government service.

The FIJ report has sparked outrage and calls for justice among Nigerians fed up with corruption and mismanagement in public institutions. Some civil society groups have urged the anti-graft agencies to investigate and prosecute Adepoju and his collaborators. They have also called for reforms and accountability in FRIN and other research institutes in Nigeria.

FRIN is one of Nigeria’s foremost research institutes focusing on forestry, biodiversity conservation, climate change mitigation, and sustainable development. The institute is mandated to conduct research and provide training on various aspects of forestry and related fields. The institute also manages several forest reserves across Nigeria.

The institute has the potential to contribute to Nigeria’s economic growth, environmental protection, and social development. However, the institute has been plagued by poor leadership, inadequate funding, low staff morale, and lack of innovation. The allegations against Adepoju reflect the challenges facing FRIN and other research institutes in Nigeria.

There is a need for a new leadership that can restore FRIN’s reputation and performance. There is also a need for more investment and support from the government and other stakeholders to enable FRIN to fulfill its mission and vision. There is hope that FRIN can overcome its current crisis and become a world-class research institute that can serve Nigeria and humanity.

Source: Businessday NG

You may also like

logo white

Born from an unwavering commitment to the nation’s progress, we stand as an emblem of independent journalism dedicated to serving the interests of progressive Nigerians from every corner of our diverse and vibrant country.

© 2024 The Nigerian Patriot. All Rights Reserved.

Social Media Auto Publish Powered By : XYZScripts.com