Sources earlier told SaharaReporters that Echono had 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 had 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 (naira) 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 (naira),” another source had noted.
Reacting, Ayanruoh described the allegations as false.
The lawyer described Echono as a true and dedicated civil servant and an epitome of what a public administrator should be.
He said, “Mr. Echono is a testimonial of a dedicated and incorruptible public administrator that our dear nation deserves. He has not been investigated or questioned of his decades of service to our great nation.
“He inspires governance and administration of all shades of government to action. And while inspiration alone isn’t enough to get the job done, it is a necessary ingredient to begin the hard work.
“His unwillingness to cross the line into the dark side of public administration has touched a fundamental place in the hearts of many who are eager to work with him and believe that public service is not entirely cynical.
“However, it is imperative to state that Mr. Echono turned down an extension offered by the Federal Government as Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Education, the supervisory Ministry of NECO referred to in the article.
“It is instructive to note that Sony Echono is a true and dedicated civil servant – an epitome of what a public administrator should be. He has traversed public service and propelled successes from the administration of the likes of Akinwumi Adesina the former Minister of Agriculture, Oby Ezekwesili (Madam Due Process) and former Minister of Education among others.
“Never allow the transitory evanescence demands of men to take precedence over eternal demand of the Almighty God.”