COVID-19 INTERVENTION FUNDS: STARTLING REVELATIONS AS REPS GRILL HEADS OF HEALTH INSTITUTIONS

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The Public Accounts Committee PAC of the House of Representatives currently investigating the alleged mismanagement of COVID-19 intervention funds from 2020 to 2022 on Thursday grilled Chief Medical Directors of the nation’s Federal Medical Centres and Federal Neuro- psychiatric Hospitals over several billions of Naira allocated to their Institutions

During the exercise that lasted several hours,, the Committee being Chaired by Rep Bamidele Salam uncovered several infractions in their presentations which the Committee insisted must sorted out to justify the judicious utilization of the amounts allocated to them during the emergency period

Consequently, the Committee discharged the CMDs with a strict directive to them to go back and reappear before it with perfect submissions to be accompanied with valid and relevant documents failure which would attract appropriate sanctions

The Chairman of the Committee Rep Bamidele Salam however reiterated that the Committee would not entain delay tactics from the l MDAs and it has a time frame within which to conclude its assignment

The affected Federal Health Institutions are Federal Medical Centre Asaba, Delta State N47.67bn, National Hospital Abuja N47.67bn, Federal Medical Centre Jalingo, Taraba State N47.67bn, Federal Medical Centre ,N47.67bn, Birini Kudu, Jigawa State N47. 67hn Federal Medical Centre Yenegoa, Bayelsa State N47 67bn Federal Medical Centre Ebute-Metta, Lagos State N47.67bn

Others which also took the same allocation of N47.67bn reach are Federal Medical Centre Yola, Adamawa State, Federal Medical Centre Azare, Baluchi State, Federal Medical Centre, Kebbi State, National Orthopedic Hospital Dala Kano State, National Orthopedic Hospital Enugu State , Federal Neuro-Psychiatric Hospital Enugu State, Federal Neuro-Psychiatric Hospital Kaduna State, Federal Neuro-Psychiatric Hospital Cross River State, Federal Neuro-Psychiatric Maiduguri, Borno State

Others that had earlier appealed before the Committee are Federal Medical Centre Lokoja, Kogi state; Federal Medical Centre, Asaba, Delta state; the National Ear Care Centre, Kaduna and National Eye Centre also based in Kaduna.include

However the Committee cleared the National Eye Centre, Kaduna was of all allegations having proved that it judiciously used the money allocated to it as Covid-19 intervention, the FMC Lokoja and Asaba were not lucky as presentation of conflicting figures and inability to explain certain violations of extant laws saw them

The Federal Medical Centre, Lokoja, Dr. Olatunde Oladeji Alabi came under heat when the committee noted that there were a lot of gaps in his presentations

Speaking on the development, the Chairman of the Committee Rep Bamidele Salam said “apparently, the Medical Director, there are a lot of gaps in your presentation, some of which you agreed. And they are very fundamental because some of the things we want to achieve with this investigation is to ensure that we have value for money.

“If you look at it, the medical centres have the same practice they are executing and it is the same standard cost. It is a standard practice in the medical practice that allows this. But the medical centres are not of the same size and capacity.

“So, we need to be sure that these items are procured using the best standard of pricing. And the contracts are executed to specification. So, I will be setting up a sub-committee of this committee to pay a visit to your institution”, .

However, the duo of Dr. Mustapha Abubakar, the Medical Director of National Ear Care Centre, Kaduna and that of FMC Asaba, Dr. Victor Azubuike, were referred to a sub-committee of the committee to reconcile their figures as well as harmonize their presentations having noticed that their oral presentations differed significantly with the documented submissions they earlier made to the committee

The probe which was still in progress as at the Press time Is to continue on Friday.

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