Accountability group urges investigation of MDAs involved in palliative fraud

• Task ICPC, EFCC, PTF, NASS • ‘Discovery Exposed Persistent Corruption In Nigerian System’

A social accountability initiative, Follow The Money, has called on the Independent Corrupt Practices and other Related Offences Commission (ICPC) and the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) to investigate Government Ministries, Departments and Agencies (MDAs) responsible for the acquisition and distribution of COVID-19 palliative relief materials.

Follow The Money founder, Hamzat Lawal, who made the call yesterday in Abuja, noted that the discovery of palliatives hideouts further indicates a systemic failure in governance and a distrust in leadership.

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Maintaining that the discovery further exposes the rot and persistent corruption in the Nigerian system, he explained that there was no reason for the distribution of the items to have been delayed, knowing that the coronavirus pandemic worsened the country’s economic situation and increased poverty level.

“The Nigerian government continues to thwart the possibility of gaining the trust of its citizens, especially with its opacity and poor accountability, which has now materialised in a mob action and heavy looting of COVID 19 palliatives.

“There is an urgent need for the Presidential Task Force (PTF) on COVID-19 to prioritise addressing the lapses identified from operational mistakes to gross mismanagement of logistics, leading to the mob action of palliatives looting,” he said.

He stressed that the EFCC and the ICPC must thoroughly investigate procurement fraud and mishandling of COVID19-related funding and resources at State and Federal level with a view to bringing culprits to justice.

“The National Assembly should also hold public hearings on the palliatives looting and citizens properly briefed on outcomes. These public officials must be held accountable for the lapses in efficiency as a right step to rethinking governance in Nigeria,” he added.

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Lawal recalled that in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic early this year, the Follow The Money team across the 36 States had been tracking intervention funds and materials disbursed to State Governments to cushion the impact of the pandemic.

He disclosed that a total of 57 Freedom of Information letters were received by 27 State Government agencies, requesting details of COVID19 funds and the distribution of palliatives but regretted that only 6 States responded, assuring that palliatives were distributed accordingly, even though they refused to provide details of distribution and evidence of the same.


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