The Public Accounts Committee of the House of Representatives on Monday began a full scale probe into the alleged mismanagement of COVID-19 intervention funds from 2020 to 2023.
The probe of the fund was mandated by the House at the plenary session.
Addressing the opening session, the Chairman of the Committee, Bamidele Salam (PDP-OSUN) warned that the committee would not entertain delay tactics from the Ministries Departments and Agencies by way of asking for extension of time.
According to him, “the Committee is probing over 60 MDAs over several billions of naira intervention funds allocated to them during the COVID-19 and we have given them enough time to prepare for this exercise, the Committee will not entertain any extension of time from any of the MDAs. The committee is not after any individual or groups, we are going to be diligent in carrying out our assignment.
He urged the Accountant General of the Federation whose office is very important to the assignment to make available relevant and competent personnel to the Committee to facilitate the assignment.
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Some of the MDAs that appeared before the Committee included Abubakar Tafawa Balewa University Teaching Hospitals, Bauchi, Federal Ministry of Communication, Innovation and Digital Economy, Federal Ministry of Agriculture and Food Security, Federal Ministry of Water Resources, Federal Road Maintenance Agency FERMA and others.
The Committee directed the Chief Medical Director of the Abubakar Tafawa Balewa University Teaching Hospital Bauchi, Prof Yusuf Jubrin to reappear before it on Thursday with relevant documents to back up the funds released to the institution during the period
While grilling the Acting Permanent Secretary of the Federal Ministry of Communication Innovation and Digital Economy and the Procurement Officer, Mohammed Ibrahim and Margret Ebute, the Committee members picked several holes in the documents submitted before it.
Consequently, the Committee directed the officials to go back and reappear with relevant documents, such as vouchers, documentary evidence on the expenditure of the N3billion allocated for the Ministry during the period.
The Committee also frowned on the awards of several contracts on the same day and the claim of exclusive rights of certain contractors to provide certain services without following principles of federal character and due process.
The Committee also faulted the claims of the ministry on the expenditure on training programmes organized during the total lockdown in the country and directed it to provide relevant documents on it and the venues of such training programmes.