Reps Query Unlawful Virement By Information Ministry

The House of Representatives on Tuesday, 21st May 2024 queried the Federal Ministry of Information over unlawful Virement of budgetary capital of N254,124,455 for Covid-19 intervention programmes.

The Ministry appeared before the Public Accounts Committee of the House in the ongoing investigative hearing on COVID-19 intervention funds.

Permanent Secretary of the Federal Ministry of Information, Dr. Ngozi Onwudiwe who appeared along with her other staff said that the Ministry used N254,124,455 from their budgetary capital for COVID-19 intervention activities.

According to her, “When Covid-19 happened in 2020, it happened as a medical emergency, just like the rest of the world Nigeria was not prepared and so there was no prior budget for COVID-19 and so the highest level committee that was set up to drive the process of combating the epidemic directed MDAs on the short run to take some percentage of there capital for the fight against COVID-19.

The ministry has to take N254,124,455.00 only from which was the percentage of capital for that year to start the fight against COVID-19 and be an agency that’s more all less an advocacy agency, cleaning the image of the country, driving awareness and enlightenment.

Most of the money was spent on Radio jingles, Newspaper Advertisements, Television Advertisements, and all other advertisements. Some of our agencies like the National Orientation Agency have to go door to door to talk to people about Covid-19, sometimes they also accomplish the Ministry of Health in the process. Placement of COVID-19’s jingle in selected Radio Station across the 36 states, in Startimes and DSTV, on selected Television Stations.

The money used to combat the Covid-19 pandemic came from special intervention funds from the Presidential Task Force (PTF), which the total sum was N816,817,879 only.”

Reacting to the question raised by the Deputy Chairman, Hon. Umar Jeremiah on Who mandated the ministry to use part of their capital for COVID-19, the Permanent Secretary said it was from the Committee Constituted to fight the pandemic and the office of the accountant general released the funds for the ministry.

Reacting to the allegation, the representative of the Accountant General, Mr. Ebute Elijah said that the office of the Accountant General is in custody of the comprehensive list of the MDAs where funds were released for COVID-19.

“Have gone through the list and don’t see their name on the list, I don’t know how they got the money” he explained.

The Committee unanimously ordered the ministry to submit the approval for the utilisation of budgetary capital and procurement documents for all the money spent.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *