January 14, 2018.
It is no longer news that the Sports Secretary of Unilorin Student Union, Comrade Bash, has been suspended for ten working days by the Senate Council over his alleged misappropriation of funds generated from sales of forms for Unilorin League, among other sundry issues.
The suspension was effected yesterday the 13th January, 2018 at the Faculty of Law Moot Court.
The action of the Senate Council has generated a lot of concerns from quarters far and near. As a result, the deterrent action has led to several speculations as to the proprietary of the taken by the Senate Council, with several interest groups pitching their tents behind the actors involved in the scenario.
In a bid to get firsthand information on what transpired yesterday on the floor of the Council, UCJ UNILORIN contacted the parties involved and captured their respective positions in the following:
Senator Olatunji Ayobami Peter (Mayor) Speaks:
“Let me first clarify the issue of misappropriation. Misappropriation is the unauthorised use of something…He was not accused of embezzlement, embezzlement is misappropriation when the funds involved have been lawfully entrusted to the embezzler. In case where the funds are accessible to, but not entrusted to, the perpetrator, it’s not embezzlement but is still misappropriation. In line with Article 8 (G ) of the student union compendium which says “The CEC shall be bound by the resolution of the Senate Council or the Congress unless such resolution is inconsistent with the provision of the Constitution.”
He summarizes the position of the Senate Council in the following:
“1. Misappropriation by way of keeping union funds privately and disbursing them unilaterally which is against the Constitution and as a matter of fact, a letter was sent to all CEC at the beginning of the administration that everyone should read and understand the Constitution especially the part that has to do with your office to avoid ignorance of law.
Article 22 is explicit about Union finances, sir.
“2. Ignoring a resolution of the Senate council to rectify the first issue above.
“Sir, despite the explanation above, he failed to follow the Constitution and the house was lenient on December 24, 2017 not to sanction him instead the house said he should do the needful within 72hours and a report of how the money was spent should be made for proper documentation.. he failed to do so which is against Article 8(G) of the union compendium.
“Failing to inform the Senate Council or UISAPC (when they sent a letter to ask) on the income from sanction fines in the league. This is another issue sir, the union money can’t be in your account. It’s against the constitution, Article 22, sir”, he stated.
He concludes by saying:
“…if the person in question has something against the word, He’s free to take the case to union court.”
Senator Alausa Issa Sanni Corroborates:
” Let me start by explaining what misappropriation means in this context. The dictionary defines misappropriation to mean appropriating something wrongly. So for example, if the university says all funds received on behalf of the university must be remitted into the university’s account, and one keeps that money in his/her personal account, he/she has misappropriated the money.
In the case of the SU sports secretary and the justification for his suspension on the basis of misappropriation of funds, I’ll explain briefly. The Senate council had her 3rd ordinary sitting which was the budget sitting on the 23rd of December, 2017. The sports secretary, during the course of his budget presentation informed the council that he has received proceeds from the sales of forms for Unilorin league and kept it in his personal account. The council resolved during that sitting that he should pay the money into the Union’s account within the next 72hrs. The sports secretary did not pay the money into the union’s account within this time-frame neither did he communicate his reasons for not doing so to the SC.
On the 13th of January, 2018, the SC had an emergency sitting which is over two weeks since our last sitting.
The sports secretary was invited to explain why he failed to meet up with the deadline given by the Senate council. He responded that he had been ill and was unable to pay the money into the Union’s account.
Did he inform the council officially of his reported illness? No he didn’t.
The constitution states how money should be appropriated and disbursed and when it is done in a manner inconsistent with that, then it is illegal and certainly misappropriation.
The sports secretary was wrong to have kept union funds in his personal account. The council out of clemency gave him the opportunity to make amends but he did not comply. Ignorance of the law is not a defence for an erring official. The resolution of the council was clear and was supposed to be complied with. To be clear, let me state this explicitly:
1. No amendments shall be made to approved union budget by a person or body of persons whatsoever except as provided for by the constitution. This means that no official can make use of union funds to do anything without the approval of the Senate Council.
2. Every member of the union shall take care and give proper account of any union property entrusted in his/her care.
Was the sports secretary right to have kept the money in his personal account?
If the senate council overlooks such acts, will that not give officials reasons to keep union funds in their personal accounts?
The senate council 2017/2018 parliamentary year will not victimise anyone. As lawmakers, we do not just act based on our personal sentiments, we’re obliged to act in accordance with the constitution that guides the union. Our goal is to ensure that we have a working system. A system that everyone recognises his/her functions and acts accordingly. Transparency and accountability is crucial and every official of the union must espouse these values. We must ensure that in carrying out our constitutional duties, the laws must not be violated”, he concluded.
Senate President, Senator Ademola Adekunbi Alexander Clarifies:
” …I’d like to clarify the circumstances of the sports secretary’s suspension. He was suspended for three reasons –
1. Misappropriation of funds. Receiving and keeping money in a personal account, then going ahead to disburse that money unilaterally.
Article 22 D & E of the constitution.
2. Failure to conform with a resolution of the Senate Council to rectify said misappropriation by submitting a report to the Senate council and remitting the remainder of the funds to the union account.
Article 8 F of the constitution
3. Failing to provide any records or remit funds made from the league in form of sanction payments (yellow card and red card)
Article 22 B, D and E of the constitution
Now to clarify some issues:
1. On the word misappropriation.
Yes, what he did was indeed misappropriation. If he claims it was not misappropriation, then the onus is on him to have suggested to the council; a better name.
The Attorney General, speaking in his capacity as a member of the CEC, also expressly confirmed it to be “misappropriation”.
The constitution provides a clear procedure for the disbursement of funds, and that is the only time money would have been properly appropriated. When that procedure is not followed, the only proper name for it is misappropriation.
Note that this is different from embezzlement, which would imply fraudulent intent.
The Senate council did not find such intent, hence the usage of misappropriation, not embezzlement.
Also note that these sort of activities are the same ones that led to the quagmire in which we find ourselves today: Union officials unilaterally making and altering contracts involving union finances without following due process.
The council gave him grace to rectify it as a matter of leniency, but he failed to do so.
1. The claim is unsubstantiated.
There was no information to any senate council official that he was sick at any point from December 24 to January 12. It was only on the sitting day that he came up with that.
2. The only people who he claimed could verify that he was sick was fellow CEC members, who obviously have a conflict of interest that reduces the probative value of their testimony.
3. Even if he was sick, in truth, the constitution stipulates that the CEC is individually and collectively responsible. Since he was able to inform the president of his sickness, he could have informed him also to facilitate (there are 11 CEC officers,after all the submission of the report and remitting of the funds.
4. He had informed the council at the last sitting that the administrative functions of the league were performed by a league board committee he had set up.
That being the case, he could also have instructed them in the writing of the report and return of the money.
5. Even if there are reasons why he couldn’t do all those, he said that he resumed school on Monday.
During that period, he has been seen at different points on campus, including Engineering got talent and the Union building.
At no time in that interval did he think it proper to inform us that the delay was caused by his sickness.
He kept silent about it and even the financial secretary when asked on Friday morning, said Bash had not communicated with him in any way or remitted the money.
It was only in the afternoon that he allegedly went to refund the money, without complying with the requirement of sending a report.
There’s one last thing: He claimed to have informed me about expenses.
1. He told me that he had made some expenses, true, but he only gave me the actual breakdown the day before the budget sitting.
I had advised him to go ahead with the program on the basis that as a flagship program of the union, it would likely be approved and I would do my best to support it on the floor of the house.
My impression was that costs would be minimized to bare expenses that could be covered out-of-pocket and that that was why he didn’t raise a voucher to request for money (which was done by various offices in the union) or write a letter to request that his program be considered also in the emergency sitting we held to ratify the PRO’s press conference.
2. He never informed me that he had received money.
He claimed to have also informed other principal officers but that has been rejected by them as well.
3. Evidence of this can be seen in the fact that the list of expenses he gave me only contained expenses and not income analysis.
If he claimed to have informed me about having collected money, why not include it in the list he gave me.
3. He admitted all this on the floor of the house, so to come and begin to misrepresent facts on social media to justify claims of political prosecution is immoral and disingenuous.
The house gave him clemency initially. He abused it”, he reaffirmed.
Comrade Bash Responds:
The response of the embattled Sports Secretary was contained in a write-up as obtained by UCJ UNILORIN and confirmed by Bash himself as representative of his position on the matter.
Here’s the content of the said press statement:
UNILORIN SPORTS SECRETARY REJECTS ALLEGATIONS ON FUND MISAPPROPRIATION
Following the allegations of funds misappropriation filed against the Students’ Union Sports Secretary BASH, which has equally led to his immediate suspension, the embattled Sport Scribe has come out openly to clear the air on certain issues needed to be objectively justified.
It would be recalled that BASH was suspended for 10 working days premised on some perceived irregularities in the management of funds traced to his office by the Students’ Union Senate Council today.
In a statement signed and released by the Sports Secretary, in response to his ‘unjustified’ suspension, Bash gave intricate analysis on why he felt the judgement pronounced lack some substantial facts, that ought to have changed the outlook of the legal decision.
While fielding questions on the formal beginning and initiation of the 2017/2018 Unilorin League, Bash revealed that he forwarded a letter of notification to the Senate Council regarding the new edition of the tournament, and which was considerably approved with the proposed date of kick off set for 17th of November, 2017, stressing that although, the sales of forms had begun few weeks before the commencement of the league.
“The Central Executive Council of the Students’ Union was aware of the fact that funds generated from the sales of forms would serve as capital to start the league processes. I couldn’t afford to embark upon a certain beneficial scheme without the prior notice and authorization of the CEC.” he added.
He affirmed that the sum of N200,000 was generated from the sales of forms, and according to the constitution, every single fund earned has to be remitted into the Students’ Union account, saying that at the starting point of the League, he needed to clear up certain bills which he claimed his financial records could testify to.
“Before the Budget Presentations that was held on the 23rd and 24th of December 2017, expenses had gone up to N144,200, as at the Week 6 of the League. I personally delivered the financial record statement to the Senate President, and with that, I felt they had gotten enough details and consequently given me a nod to paddle on.” he added.
Continuing, BASH noted that on the 20th of December, he had verbally told the Senate President that all the estimations would reflect on the budget he would be presenting on the floor of the house, and which however, clearly reflected and presented to the Senate Council at the Budget Sitting, adding that with that, he believed the Principal Officers had gotten all the necessary financial details from the office of the Sports Secretary.
On the Budget Presentation, he said the Senate Council ordered him to remit all the monies acquired from the sales of forms and from other related means within 72hours, a motion raised by one Senator Eleja from Faculty of Law Constituency, but unfortunately he fell sick for a week and half, and he resumed to school on the 9th of January 2018, while even on medication.
“All the funds generated through the sales of forms were safely kept with the League Board Committees (LBC), and as at Saturday 13th of January, the League fixtures had reached its 8th week. And today, I have remitted the balance into the account. ” he revealed.
Elsewhere, BASH said the USAICPC had earlier demanded the submission of his financial records, which according to him was forwarded to the Chairman, with reasons why he could not remit the money, stressing that funds generated from sanctions of players could not be remitted because there would always be urgent need for unplanned finances and such would be used to fulfil the needs, stating that for accountability sake, all the sanctions records were clearly updated and displayed on the League website.
_2 Conti Balls, each at 3500 (7,000); 2 Puma each at 3000 (6,000); Reactivation of League website (30000); Lining of field (15,000); League Banners (7,000); Scores Plank Board (3,000); A4 Paper (Pack = 1200); Medical Materials (3,000) Officiating (96,000 as at week 8)_
He charged all and sundry to disregard any statement or claim of questionable accuracy either from known or unknown sources, labeling the suspension as a financial misunderstanding of facts and figures perpetuated by political influences,” the statement urged.
UCJ UNILORIN has conducted an interview with the embattled sports scribe. It would be made available in our subsequent publications.
OSUJI, Chima Francis