Reps probe ministries, agencies over alleged COVID-19 fund mismanagement

The House of Representatives Public Accounts Committee has invited the Ministries of Agriculture and Food Security, Communications and Digital Economy, the Federal Road Maintenance Agency, and scores of other Ministries, Department and Agencies to appear before it to answer questions on the alleged mismanagement of COVID-19 intervention funds distributed among them to fight the global health pandemic.

In an invitation issued by the Chairman of the Committee and a member representing Ede North/Ede South Federal Constituency, Osun State, Bamidele Salam, dated November 20, 2023, each of the MDAs was required to be represented by their “Chief Accounting Officers, Head of Finance, Head of Procurement, and any other relevant officer to defend the expenditure contained in their various submissions.”

To appear before the Committee on Monday, November 27, are the Federal Ministry of Agriculture and Food Security, FERMA, the Federal Ministries of Communications, Innovation, and Digital Economy, the Federal Ministry of Youth and Sports Development, the Federal Ministry of Women Affairs and Social Development, and the Federal Ministry of Humanitarian Affairs and Poverty Alleviation.

Others include the Federal Ministries of Finance, Budget, and National Planning, Mines and Steel Development, Water Resources, Health, the National Hospital, Abuja, and the National Directorate of Employment.

On Tuesday, November 28, the National Agency for Food and Drug Administration and Control, the National Institute for Pharmaceutical Research and Development, the Office of the Secretary to the Government of the Federation, the Nigeria Centre for Disease Control, and the Nigeria Security and Civil Defence Corps are expected to appear before the Committee for the exercise.

Also billed to appear on Tuesday are the Nigerian Correctional Service, the Nigerian Air Force, the Nigeria Police Force, the Nigerian Army, and the Federal Fire Service. Rural Electrification Agency, the University of Abuja Teaching Hospital, Federal Medical Centre, Jabi, Abuja, National Commission on Refugee Migrants and Internally Displaced Persons Offices, Abuja, and the Federal Medical Centre, Keffi, Nasarawa State.

On Wednesday, November 29, it will be the turn of the Nigerian Institute for Medical Research, Lagos State, the National Eye Centre, Kaduna State, the National Ear Centre, Kaduna State, and the Ministries of Aviation, Industry, Trade, and Investment, Federal Medical Centre. Bida, Niger State, Federal Medical Centre, Lokoja, Federal Medical Centre, Makurdi, Federal Medical Centre, Umuahia, Abia State, Federal Medical Centre, Owo, Ondo State, as well as those in Katsina, Nguru, Yobe State, Asaba, Delta State, and Gusau, Zamfara State.

The Salam-led Committee would also play host to the Federal Medical Centre, Jaligo, Taraba State, Brini Kudu, Jigawa State, Yenagoa, Bayelsa State, Azare, Bauchi State, Ebutte-Meta, Lagos State, and the Federal Neuro-Psychiatric Hospital Enugu, among others, on November 30, 2023.

On December 1, the Federal Neuro-Psychiatric Hospital Kware, Sokoto State, the Federal Neuro-Psychiatric Hospital Yaba Lagos State, and the Federal Neuro-Psychiatric Hospital Abeokuta, Ogun State, will take their turns before the Committee.

In a telephone conversation with our correspondent, Mr Salam declined to make further clarifications, saying, “I cannot give you additional information now. Call me tomorrow (Tuesday), and I will tell you more. This is all I can say for now.”

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