In a move to ensure transparency and accountability in the use of COVID-19 funds, the House of Representatives Public Accounts Committee has turned its attention to scrutinizing the execution of 192 projects by the Federal Roads Maintenance Agency (FERMA). The agency claimed to have undertaken these projects with the N60 billion in COVID-19 funds released by the office of the Accountant-General of the Federation.
Emeka Agabasi, the Managing Director of FERMA, presented details of the projects during the committee’s hearing, stating that 186 of the initiatives were completed across the six geopolitical zones. However, lawmakers expressed dissatisfaction with the documents provided, citing inadequate copies for their examination. In response, the committee opted for an on-site inspection, intending to tour and assess the projects in question.
Simultaneously, the Chief Medical Director (CMD) of the University of Port Harcourt Teaching Hospital, Prof. Henry Ugboma, faced scrutiny over the management of N949 million in COVID-19 intervention funds. Ugboma revealed that the hospital received the funds in five tranches but was met with concerns from the committee. Committee Chairman Bamidele Salam highlighted that the funds exceeded the appropriation approved by the National Assembly.
In response to these discrepancies, the House Committee demanded comprehensive documentation from the University of Port Harcourt Teaching Hospital. They sought details on all received funds, contracts awarded, and approvals from both the Federal Executive Council and the Bureau of Public Procurement. The intensified investigation underscores the legislature’s commitment to ensuring fiscal responsibility and proper allocation of resources during the ongoing global health crisis.