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We’ll prosecute those who mismanaged COVID-19 contract funds –ICPC

 

The Independent Corrupt Practices And Other Related Offences Commission says it will prosecute those who mismanaged the Federal Government’s COVID-19 contract sums.




This was as a report by a non-governmental organisation, Civic Hive of BudgIT, stated that seven government Ministries, Departments and Agencies spent a sum of N3.03bn on COVID-19 contracts, adding that the cost of the contracts was suspicious.




The NGO expressed concerns that “most of the MDAs involved did not make public their procurement process.”




In a series of tweets on via its Twitter handle, the NGO said, for instance, the Federal Ministry of Health awarded 15 out of 29 COVID-19 contracts to Marvellous Mike Press Limited, amounting to N444.2m.




The organisation also alleged that the Nigeria Centre for Disease Control in Abuja purchased a Toyota Prado Sports Utility Vehicle at the sum of N39.7m without a proper description of what the car would be used for. It also noted that the Ministry of Health spent N37.06m on 1,808 pieces of regular face masks.




“This brings the cost of a single mask to approximately N20,467. This is ridiculously expensive!” Civic Hive said.




The report by the organisation alleged that all the projects at the Federal Medical Centre, Abeokuta (Ogun State), amounting to N106.7m with the status of ‘ongoing and completed’, did not have a contractor.




The NGO said a sum of N43.87m was spent to supply 2,240 pieces of face masks by the NCDC. The report also alleged that the FMC, Abakaliki (Ebonyi State) bought and installed a 100KVA generator for N7.7m without a contractor.




“The supply and installation of 100KVA sound-proof generator to the Lassa Fever/COVID-19 Centre at the FMC Abakaliki of the sum of N7.7m did not have a contractor. The Ministry of Interior spent N18m on the purchase of 10,000ml per kg of liquid soap.




“The University of Abuja Teaching Hospital took the delivery of medical supplies specifically for the isolation centre up to N34.86m. Till now, we do not know exactly what was supplied to the centre,” the report stated.




Reacting to the allegations, the ICPC spokesperson, Mrs Azuka Ogugua, said the commission had received the Civic Hive report and begun monitoring things “closely” with a view to prosecuting those found wanting.




She said the ICPC was collaborating with the Bureau of Public Procurement and the Office of the Accountant General of the Federation to ensure that persons who diverted money were brought to book.




Ogugua stated, “The ICPC is really monitoring and there are things we are seeing. The monitoring is ongoing and we cannot reveal anything now. We are working in collaboration with BPP and the Office of the Accountant General.




“The cases that we feel need further investigation will be investigated. You know we cannot just go to court with the report from BudgIT. We need to follow up at a more detailed level and do a thorough investigation. If we go with one, it will be like we are truncating the process. So, we are monitoring the process and flagging those that need further investigation, and possibly prosecution.”




Meanwhile, when contacted on the telephone, the Managing Director of Marvellous Mike Press Limited, Mr Mike Akinola, admitted receiving a contract from the Federal Government but said it was nowhere near the N444.2m as claimed by Civic Hive.



 

Akinola said he got only one contract and not 15 as alleged by the NGO.




When asked what kind of contract he executed, he said he only printed COVID-19 manuals which were distributed across the country.




“I got a contract and I did the job. I didn’t supply face masks. What I did was the printing of training manuals, charts, and guidelines. I got only one contract, I don’t know about 15 contracts. I did the job and we delivered under pressure to all the 36 states and the Federal Capital Territory,” he said.



 

Meanwhile, the NCDC had yet to respond to an inquiry as of press time on Friday.

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