COVID-19: Reps query Ministry over sinking of one borehole for N25m

The Public Accounts Committee off the House of Representatives currently investigating Ministries, Departments and Agencies of the Federal Government on the alleged mismanagement of COVID-19 intervention funds from 2020-2022 has queried the Federal Ministry of Water Resources for reportedly sinking one borehole for between N12.5 million N25 million per unit.

The Public Accounts Committee of the House made the observation on Tuesday as it continued with its probe.

The committee, chaired by Rep Bamidele Salam (PDP-Osun), also picked holes in the N4 billion reportedly spent by the Ministry on the recruitment of 100 personnel for a period of three months on a project known as Youth Engagement for Sanitation across the 774 local government areas in the country.

The Permanent Secretary of the Ministry, Didi Esther Walson-Jack, told the Committee that the boreholes were sunk in some locations across the states of the Federation and the Federal Capital Territory, Abuja

According to the Permanent Secretary: “In total, 299 new water schemes were embarked upon during the period, just as a total of 188 rehabilitation of old and abandoned solar boreholes were resuscitated during the period.

“Each state of the federation received N10 million intervention items.”

However, with strong dissatisfaction, members of the committee took turn to request for the existence of such projects in order to ascertain the authenticity and avoid mixing it up with projects earlier executed by members.

They also sought to know the modality of recruitment of the personnel, full list of the youths, their account numbers, schedule of payments sent to respective banks and all other documents related to the project.

While speaking, the Chairman of the Committee, Salam said: “What I want this honourable committee to note is that we are going to do project verification.

“Not only for this Ministry, but for other Ministries, Departments and Agencies, who have said they have done one project or the other.

“The Committee will need to go and see exactly what is on ground so that we can have value for money.”

He announced the states to be visited for the physical verification to include Osun and Ogun in the South West; Akwa Ibom and Edo in the South South; Imo and Ebonyi in the South East; Kwara, Nasarawa and Benue in the North Central; Katsina and Sokoto in the North West; and Bauchi and Adamawa in the North East.

In addition, the committee ordered the Permanent Secretary to tender all relevant documents related to every contract, procurement and the certificates needed to execute them on the next date of appearance

This came just as the Committee refused to take the submission of the representatives of the National Institute of Pharmaceutical Research and Development over the N2 billion intervention funds allocated to it and insisted that its Accounting Officer must appear before it person

Also the Committee directed the management of the Federal Medical Centre, Jabi, Abuja to reappear before it because of the infractions noticed in the dates of contract awards.

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