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Senate Raises Concern Over Alleged Mismanagement Of N5.7 Billion Donor Agency Fund By Health Ministry Officials

Orders Their Arrest for Failing To Defend Expense

The National Assembly’s upper house has expressed concern about allegations that Ministry of Health employees mishandled nearly N5.7 billion in donations from a foreign organization.

Due to unsatisfactory reports coming from the organizations under the Ministry of Health, the Senate, which first brought attention to this alleged mismanagement, said that this development led several funders to halt their support.

Senator Matthew Urhogbide, the chairman of the Senate Public Account Committee, has voiced his displeasure with the Permanent Secretary of the Ministry of Health and other Ministry employees for failing to account for the fund.

Four invitations, it was discovered, have been sent to the Ministry, which were not honored.

The first letter dated February 1, in a meeting was scheduled for February 8, and another meeting was scheduled for March 16, and this months.

One of the donor agency is Global Alliance for Vaccines and Immunisation (GAVI), an international NGO specializes in bringing together public and private sectors with the objective of creating equal access to new and under-used vaccine for children living in the world’s poorest countries.

The revelation was sequel to the 2016 Auditor General’s Report, which is under consideration.

Reacting to the failure of the Ministry to give account of the money spent, the Chairman said that the Committee is left with no other option than to issue Warrant of Arrest on the Ministry officials to come and give explanation.

He said: “The Ministry of Health has consistently refused to come and give account before this Committee.

“We have sent invitations to them to appear with no response from the Ministry, this is very unfortunate.”

The query reads: “First in 2015, by a donor named Global Alliance for Vaccines and Immunisation (GAVI), an international NGO specialising in bringing together public and private sectors with the objective of creating equal access to new and under-used vaccine for children living in the world’s poorest countries.

“The NGO, with headquarters in Geneva, Switzerland, accused NPHCDA of mis-management of funds released by the organisation and invited my Office to observe the appointment of an audit firm to carry out extended cash programme audit of GAVI funds released to NPHCDA from 2010 to 2015.

Non-adherence to laid down procedures stipulated in Public Procurement Act, 2007, in the procurement of goods, services and works valued at N4,987,958,621.00 (Four billion, nine hundred and eighty-seven million, nine hundred and fifty-eight thousands)

“Expenditures made by the NPHCDA between 1st January, 2010 and 31st March, 2015 amounted to N8,599,291,949.00 (Eight billion, five hundred and ninety-nine million, two hundred and ninety-one thousand, nine hundred and forty-nine naira), out of which N187,725,160.00 was not supported with relevant statutory and third party documents, such as payment vouchers, receipts, invoices, delivery notes, store receipt vouchers, contract completion certificates, etc.

“The sum of N18,804,865.00 was also reported to be ineligible expenditures as it comprised payments to suppliers, who did not deliver the procured goods or services as per contract.

“Inadequately supported expenditure amounted to N619,999,383.00. This was mostly attributed to photocopied documents, inconsistencies in supporting documents, lack of contracts with suppliers and lack of evidence of delivery for procured goods.”

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