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House of Reps to investigate alleged mismanagement of N183.9bn COVID-19 funds

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The House of Representatives has instructed the Public Accounts Committee to investigate charges of illegal handling of COVID-19 intervention funding.

Nyampa Zakari, a PDP member from Adamawa State, proposed the order at plenary on Tuesday.

In his motion, Zakari claimed that various ministries and organisations misappropriated COVID-19 intervention funds throughout the pandemic.

The legislator stated that the federal budget had set aside more than N183.9 billion for intervention funds, and that additional funds had been donated to the coffers by other international donors.

“The disruption of economic activity made it necessary to implement several programmes, laws, and interventions to help families, small enterprises, and public corporations and to strengthen their economies.

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“To battle the COVID-19 pandemic on the populace, the Federal Government of Nigeria launched several initiatives, including financial provisions and money from international donor organisations.

“A sum of N83.9 billion was appropriated for the COVID-19 response in the 2020 Appropriation Act, as well as another sum of over N100 billion as intervention funds through the supplementary budget and international donor agencies,” the legislator went on to say.

According to Mr. Zakari, the alleged mismanagement was outlined in one of the Auditor General’s reports.

He stated that the inadequate management will prevent donor organisations from making future gifts to Nigeria.

“Auditor-General’s report and other sources reveal that significant funds for COVID-19 palliatives and international donations were diverted and unaccounted for by various Ministries, Departments and Agencies of Government.

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“Lack of proper accountability of funds allocated for COVID-19 intervention by the federal government and global donor agencies could potentially lead to negative economic ratings and loss of opportunities for Nigeria,” he said

Speaking on the motion, Borno APC member Ahmed Jaha argued that the investigation was necessary because the House had previously been accused of benefiting from the COVID-19 intervention funds.

Consider how many schools could have been built if each constituency received N500 million, according to Mr. Jaha.

As a result, the House charged the committee with investigating the COVID-19 intervention monies granted to federal ministries, departments, and agencies between 2020 and 2022 and submitting a report within four weeks for further legislative action.

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Speaker Abbas Tajudeen put the resolution to a vote, and it was adopted unanimously by the House.

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