Reps uncover mismanagement in COVID-19 funds disbursements

The House of Representatives, throughout a plenary session on Tuesday, obtained a report from the Public Accounts Committee on the investigation into the disbursement and administration of COVID-19 funds.

While laying the report throughout the session presided over by the Deputy Speaker, Benjamin Kalu, the Chairman of the Committee, Bamidele Salam, stated the report coated the interval between 2020 and 2022, throughout which the committee invited a number of 92 ministries, departments, and companies.

The investigation adopted a movement debated in plenary on October 17, 2023, alleging mismanagement of COVID-19 intervention funds.

The Recalled Salam-led committee commenced the general public listening to on November 27, 2023, and invited the involved MDAs for questioning.

The reviews reveal a path of mismanagement, non-compliance, and outright violations of procurement legal guidelines and monetary laws by numerous MDAs and personal sector beneficiaries.

The report, which quoted data from the Office of the Accountant-General of the Federation, gave a breakdown of inflows totalling N1.32 trillion.

Out of the quantity, the Nigerian equal of $3.4 billion in donations by the International Monetary Fund as grants to the Federal Government stood at N1.28 trillion, whereas the Federal Government intervention stood at N34.4 billion.

The common donation amounted to N6.09bn, whereas the donation from the China General Chamber of Commerce was N48.12 million.

Similarly, donations from the Nigeria Content Development and Monitoring Board stood at N70 million, and Remita E-payment raked within the sum of N50 million.

The doc, which was sighted by our correspondent confirmed that additional signifies that the Ministry of Water Resources, the Federal Ministry of Finance, University Teaching Hospitals, Federal Medical Centres, Specialised Health establishments, and The Rural Electrification Agency, amongst others, appeared earlier than the committee throughout the investigation.

The report learn partly, “There have been many circumstances of non-appearance, delayed look, non-submission of required paperwork, and late submission of paperwork by some MDAs of presidency who acquired funds from the Federal Government COVID-19 intervention funding.

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“The Central Bank of Nigeria didn’t present the required info on time regardless of a number of letters written by the Committee.

“There have been a number of circumstances of deliberate refusal by some beneficiary entities to offer the certificates of no-objection issued to them by the Bureau of Public Procurement on procurements throughout the pandemic for verification by the committee.

“There have been a number of situations of unjustifiable delay in procurements by Chief Executive Officers opposite to provisions of the Procurement Act for which funds have been launched between 2020 and 2021 however but to be accomplished thus far.

“The committee noticed that many of the non-public sector beneficiaries of the COVID-19 Intervention Funding used the funds for functions apart from these for which they have been accredited by the disbursing MDAs.

The report indicted some airline operators, saying, “The most obvious examples have been non-public airline operators like ArikAir, Air Peace, Dana Airline, Azman Air, MAX Air, Aero Contractors Overland, and so on., and different subsidiary airport service suppliers who used the funds supplied for actions of their regular course of operations fairly than cost of employees salaries or upkeep of plane throughout the interval of shutdown.

“The airline operators additionally shun invites to offer extra info on the usage of funds obtained from the Federal Government.  A personal airline operator (King Airlines and Travels Limited), which obtained a sum of N15 million and saved the cash in a devoted account, has, nevertheless, provided to refund the cash to the Federal Government.

“Investigation additionally reveals that few of the MDAs diverted their COVID-19 intervention funds to completely different programmes or tasks for which related budgetary provisions had adequately been made within the Appropriation Acts for the interval underneath evaluate.

“Some medical centres and teaching hospitals claimed to have refunded unspent balances of their funds to the Independent Corrupt Practices and other related Offences Commission dedicated accounts without providing pieces of evidence of such refunds.”

The Bamidele-led committee additionally established situations of “outright violation of the Procurement Act for works and services, Financial Regulations, violation of provisions of extant circulars on approval limits, as well as unauthorised virement of funds by many MDAs.”

Meanwhile, Salam, who represents Ede North/ Ede South/ Ejigbo Federal Constituency, Osun State, has pledged to disclose extra of Volume 2 of the report, which issues the utilisation of funds by the Federal Ministries of Agriculture and Food Security; Industry, Trade, and Investment; Education; Humanitarian Affairs; and different our bodies, together with the National Primary Healthcare Development Agency; the Nigeria Centre for Disease Control; and the Nigeria Police Force, amongst others.



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