The House of Representatives has set the stage for a comprehensive investigation into the alleged mismanagement of over N447.6 billion in COVID-19 intervention funds from 2020 to 2022. Summoning 83 Ministries, Departments, and Agencies (MDAs) of the Federal Government, the probe is slated to commence on November 27, 2023, and conclude on December 4, 2023.
Examination of the budgets of the MDAs revealed that at least 22 of them received a minimum of N447.6 billion in COVID-19 funds in 2020 alone. This figure suggests that the overall COVID-19 intervention fund from 2020 to 2022 surpasses the amount received by less than half of the MDAs invited for the upcoming investigation.
The House has invited prominent MDAs, including the Ministries of Agriculture and Food Security, Communications and Digital Economy, and the Federal Road Maintenance Agency, to provide insights into the alleged mismanagement of the funds allocated to combat the global health pandemic.
The Chairman of the Committee, Bamidele Salam, has outlined the modalities for the investigation, requiring each MDA to be represented by key officials, including their Chief Accounting Officers, Head of Finance, Head of Procurement, and other relevant officers.
The first batch of MDAs scheduled to appear on Monday, November 27, includes the Federal Ministry of Agriculture and Food Security, FERMA, the Federal Ministries of Communications, Innovation, and Digital Economy, among others. The subsequent days will see a host of other MDAs testifying before the committee.
The investigation, poised to uncover any financial irregularities, comes amidst rising concerns over the management and utilization of COVID-19 funds. The Salam-led committee aims to shed light on the expenditures contained in the submissions of the various MDAs and ensure accountability in the allocation and utilization of the intervention funds.
As the proceedings unfold, the nation awaits the revelations that may emerge, expecting transparency, adherence to due process, and accountability from the federal agencies entrusted with the critical task of managing funds allocated for the COVID-19 response.