Facts have emerged on how Managing Director of Engineering Materials Development Institute, Akure, Ondo State, Samuel Olusunle, allegedly embezzled over N1bn belonging to the institute in five years.
SaharaReporters gathered that Olusunle, who assumed his position as MD and Chief Executive Officer of the institute in 2012, had been diverting the institute’s funds to personal use.
Findings showed that EMDI is one of several agencies under the Federal Ministry of Science and Technology charged with transforming scientific engineering materials and technological know-how in the country.
Documents obtained by our correspondent revealed how Olusunle had been using many cronies and friends to collect “phony contracts” and award projects in the institute while getting ‘huge kickbacks’ in the process.
It was revealed in the documents that some of these projects claimed to have been executed by Olusunle, were done and initiated by his predecessor, while others were nowhere to be found despite huge amount of money collected by him as the MD of the institute.
After a thorough check by SaharaReporters, names of non-existing and even pseudo contractors were seen among those being awarded contracts to supply both basic tools and hardware engineering equipment.
Some of the contracts were awarded at higher costs than usual, according to findings by SaharaReporters.
In the financial documents, which started from 2016, Olusunle claimed he awarded the contract for the supply of two “5NOS 500KVA/33KV transformers” of same type at a different rate of N19, 500,000.00, and N9, 600,000.00 to the Akure North Local Government Area of Ondo State.
But SaharaReporters investigation showed that the phony contract of the “electric transformers” were all purportedly awarded to the institute in 2017 and was not even supplied.
A source in the administrative section of the institute, who knows much about the contract, hinted that it was not part of the mandate of the organisation to supply ‘transformer’ to political constituency, noting that the contract was another method used by Olusunle in embezzling funds belonging to the institute.
A thorough analysis of the documents showed that some of the machines claimed to have been newly bought by the MD have started malfunctioning.
It was also gathered that some key staff of the institute in connivance with the account department siphoned N15m belonging to the institute in the name of “traveling overseas for trainings and research”.
Not less than five staff (names withheld) of the institute in 2018 allegedly claimed estacodes of all kinds for trainings they never attended.
One of staff, who asked not to be named, explained to SaharaReporters how he had been benefiting from the ongoing corruption in the institute.
He said, “Honestly, I never knew the MD was using me and some other persons to syphon the institute’s money by asking some of us to embark on training abroad in order to learn how to handle some machines here.
“The truth of the matter is that I don’t even have an international passport, let alone traveling abroad but the MD would always ask the accountant to send money into our accounts for training.
“They would later ask us to send back the money by withdrawing it and return it to the accountant in cash.”
Several sources at the institute also disclosed to our correspondent that in an attempt to continue his looting spree, Olusunle had been elongating his tenure as MD/CEO of the institute.
SaharaReporters learnt that Olusunle alongside other staff of the institute are currently being investigated by the Independent Corrupt Practices and Other Related Offences Commission, and Economic and Financial Crime Commission following a petition over the financial recklessness in the organisation.
The source further disclosed that Olusunle hardly shows up at the office despite receiving salary every month for that purpose.
He said, “The man (Olusunle) has completely ruined the institute and even if another person is brought here to head the place, such person would find it too difficult to do any overhauling.
“For instance, we didn’t see him in his office for more than six weeks only for him to suddenly show up on Monday.
“There was even a time he was absent from work for like three months despite collecting salaries every month.
“In fact, he uses the names of some staff loyal to him as contractors to award projects and syphon the institute’s funds.”
While accusing Olusunle of lies, another staff of the institute, who spoke with SaharaReporters in confidence said, “To know how corrupt this man is, he had to give this particular machine (prototyping machine) different names and award funds for its purchase.
“Whereas, he didn’t buy it and the only one here was bought by his predecessors.
“The MD is very corrupt to the extent that the menace even smells all over his body.
“There is also one interlocking block machines. It was built by the institute long time ago even before he assumed office but now he is claiming that the same machine was imported for about N7.5m by him, yet he has refused to show us the receipt for it.
“He claimed that he awarded the contract for the fencing of the institute for N29m but the fence had been there from inception. All they did was just to put a security wire on the top of the fence.
“There are so many lies and corruption going on under Olusunle.
“We would have come out early enough to reveal some of these things but it was because some of us with facts and figures were threatened with sack letters and many other things but we have now been pushed to the wall.
“There is lot of corrupt practices presently going on in the institute under this man, if he escapes without facing the consequences of his action, a bad precedence would have been set.”
When contacted by SaharaReporters on Monday and Tuesday to react to these allegations, the telephone lines of Olusunle indicated that they were switched off.
A source close to him however, confirmed to our correspondent that the MD just returned from a trip to Abuja and hardly picked calls these days.
The source said, “The MD has not been attending to his phone calls these days. I am aware he travelled to Abuja but he is back.”