Nigeria commences probe of allege diversion of COVID-19 funds by states, agencies
London, May 30, 2020 (AltAfrica)-Nigerian government has launched internal probe into allegation of diversion of funds by some states and agencies released for the management of covid-19 pandemic in the country.
Aside the allege diversion of funds, another issue being investigated is the report that state governments were using the pandemic to “financially exploit local governments”.
The probe is being jointly carried out by the Office of the Accountant-General of the Federation and the anti-graft agency, the Independent Corrupt Practices and other related offences Commission, ICPC
The investigation covers all transactions relating to the COVID-19 Funds
Some of the private sector funds, totalling over N25bn, in addition to government funds, had been disbursed for various intervention purposes by the Central Bank of Nigeria, ministries, agencies and departments
The decision to institute the probe was arrived at during a virtual meeting of stakeholders titled Covid-19 Funds Management and Monitoring: Preventing a Slide into Old Habits organised by the Commission and anchored by its Chairman, Prof. Bolaji Owasanoye
The Director of Operations of ICPC, Mr. Akeem Lawal disclosed that the Commission was investigating reports of alleged diversion of COVID-19 logistics/contingency funds into personal accounts.
He said there were also alleged fraud by some public institutions involved in the release and distribution of grains from the strategic food reserve and that there were also alleged infractions in the procurement of COVID-19 palliatives and logistics, as well as in the handling of funds for community sensitisation activities.
In his presentation titled ”Framework for the Management of Covid-19 Funds under TSA” the Accountant- General of the Federation, AGF, Mr. Ahmed Idris disclosed that in addition to the main CACOVID Fund Account with the Central Bank of Nigeria, the President, Muhammadu Buhari approved the opening of five private sector COVID-19 donor accounts with five commercial banks; Zenith, Access, Guaranty Trust, United Bank for Africa and First Bank.
The AGF, Ahmed Idris, added that any ministry, department or agency that contravened the guideline would be sanctioned and the names of such MDA and its principal officers would be made public as a “measure of transparency.”
“Contravention of guidelines and sanctions, participating MDA are reminded that the COVID-19 Fund is a public fund in the truest sense of it. For that reason, the public is invested in ensuring that the funds are utilised in the most transparent and prudent manner.
“For this reason, any participating MDA that contravenes this guideline may be sanctioned from continued participation in the programme. Also, the name of the MDA and its principal officers shall be made public as an additional measure of transparency.”