Echono was then accused of providing tacit support for the officials of NECO to perpetuate corruption at the council, while using his position as a very senior officer in the Ministry charged with the responsibility of supervising NECO.

Despite the allegations, Echono was appointed in March by President Muhammadu Buhari as the Executive Secretary of TETFUND.

Sources told SaharaReporters that Echono has turned the agency into a fiefdom where contract splitting and padding was the order of the day.

“The situation in TETFUND in less than four months is worrisome; the ES has done what no other chief executive has done in terms of splitting contracts to favour his cronies and fronts. A situation where the ES brags about extensive knowledge of procurement is disgusting. I can say that the rot he perpetuated while he was Permanent Secretary in the Education Ministry is what he is repeating here,” one of the sources said.

“The ES is in the habit of asking for advance payment in dollars before grants are released. You know he was the former PS in the Education Ministry, and he knew most of the Vice-Chancellors of the universities. So it has been business as usual with how these Vice-Chancellors respond to his monetary demands before grants are released.”

“One of the antics of the ES of TETFUND is insisting that most TETFUND projects are executed by firms he recommended. He has a list of firms under his direct control that he uses in executing TETFUND projects.

“There is a list of anointed firms that must execute projects. In some instances, these firms are not qualified and what happens is that they end up engaging firms with capacity but for a lesser fee. One of the federal universities in the Southern part of the country was a case where TETFUND released the sum of 250 million for constructing twin lecture theatres. The firm that was awarded the contract later engaged another firm for the same project at the sum of 150 million,” another source noted.

The source further added that while as Permanent Secretary, the major firms that handled contracts were recommended by him.

“Take the case of the National Examination Council, where he provided support for the officials of NECO to perpetrate corruption running into billions through the ‘Direct Procurement Method’ without regard to approval thresholds and without getting approvals from the Parastatal Tenders Board, Ministerial Tenders Board or the Federal Executive Council/Bureau of Public Procurement.

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