Reps issue 72-hour ultimatum to AGF to present report on N100bn COVID-19 funds



The house of representatives has issued a 72-hour ultimatum to Oluwatoyin Madein, accountant general of the federation (AGF), to submit a detailed report on the utilisation of the N100 billion COVID-19 intervention funds.

Speaking on Tuesday at the plenary, Bamidele Salam, chairman of the house committee on public accounts, frowned at Madein's refusal to comply with the resolution.

The house resolution was passed after the adoption of a motion on the "alleged mismanagement of COVID-19 intervention funds from 2020 to 2022", approved by the federal government for various ministries, departments, and agencies (MDAs) between 2020 and 2022.

Salam, a member representing the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) from Osun, said the committee had asked Madein to submit the report on October 27.

The lawmaker said the house had mandated the committee to investigate the "expenditure incurred under the COVID-19 interventions especially in the year 2020 and up to 2022".

"A letter was written to the Accountant General to furnish the committee with details of all releases pursuant to the provisions of the Appropriation Act as well as other interventions captured by the released from Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) to different MDA of government," Salam said.

"That letter, I was duly informed, showed that submission is expected on or before October 27, 2023.

"As we speak, that input has not been received from the office of the accountant general of the federation.

"That is a very important document that will guide our proceedings on the investigation the house mandated us to carry out within a timeframe.

"The committee chairman, therefore, asked the AGF to transmit the report before the close of work on Friday, November 3, 2023."

While leading the debate on the motion, Nyampa Zakari, a PDP member representing Michika/Madagali federal constituency, underscored the role of the national assembly in exposing corruption in the utilisation of public funds.

Zakari said the COVID-19 pandemic resulted in the loss of lives, jobs, and economic opportunities for millions of homes in different parts of the world, including Nigeria.

"The house is also aware that 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, "Zakari said.

"The house is disturbed that the 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 MDAs of government.

"The house is concerned that the 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."

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