The House of Representatives has given a 72-hour ultimatum to Mrs. Oluwatoyin Madein, the Accountant General of the Federation, (AGF), to provide a comprehensive report on the utilization of the N100 billion COVID-19 intervention funds disbursed by President Muhammadu Buhari’s administration to various Ministries, Departments, and Agencies between 2020 and 2022.
Hon. Bamidele Salam, the Chairman of the House Committee on Public Accounts, expressed dissatisfaction in Abuja on Tuesday, as Mrs. Madein had not complied with the committee’s resolution to submit the report by October 27, 2023.
Hon. Salam, while addressing the issue with the Accountant General, explained that the House had tasked the Committee with investigating the expenses related to the COVID-19 interventions, especially during 2020 and up to 2022. The Committee had requested detailed information about releases made in accordance with the Appropriation Act and other interventions facilitated by the Central Bank of Nigeria to various government entities. The requested submission was due on or before October 27, 2023, but it has not been received.
Consequently, Hon. Salam directed the Accountant General to provide the report by the end of the workday on Friday, November 3, 2023.
This House resolution stemmed from a motion addressing the alleged mismanagement of COVID-19 intervention funds for the years 2020 to 2022. These funds were approved by the Federal Government for different Ministries, Departments, and Agencies. During the motion’s debate, Hon. Nyampa Dauda Zakari stressed the National Assembly’s role in uncovering corruption in the use of public funds. He noted the global impact of the COVID-19 pandemic, including its toll on lives, jobs, and economic opportunities.
Hon. Zakari highlighted that various programs and policies were introduced to support families, small businesses, and public corporations, including significant budgetary provisions and international donations. However, he expressed concern about reports from the Auditor-General and other sources indicating that these funds meant for COVID-19 relief and international donations were misappropriated by government entities.
Hon. Ahmed Jaha also emphasized the magnitude of funds allocated to combat COVID-19 in Nigeria, suggesting that they could have made a substantial difference at the local government level. He called for a thorough investigation into the mismanagement and diversion of funds intended for pandemic response.
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