COVID19 funds: submit proper documents or refund N75bn – Reps to Ministry of Trade

Elizabeth AtimeFebruary 13, 20243 min

The lawmakers are currently investigating the Ministry of Trade and others over the alleged massive mismanagement of COVID-19 intervention funds.

The Public Accounts Committee (PAC) of the House of Representatives has ordered the Ministry of Industry, Trade, and Investments to come up with proper documents or refund the sum of N75 billion allocated to it as COVID-19 Intervention funds by the Federal Government.

The House Committee chaired by Rep. Bamidele Salam (PDP, Osun) expressed dismay over the insufficient and inadequate documents submitted before it by the Ministry describing it as a worthless piece of document which doesn’t say anything.”

The lawmakers are currently investigating Ministries Departments and Agencies (MDAs) of the Federal Government over the alleged massive mismanagement of COVID-19 intervention funds.

OrderPaper recalls that the Committee, at its last sitting, ordered the Ministry of Trade, (its immediate past and the incumbent Permanent Secretaries) to refund the sum of N75 billion allocated to it as COVID-19 intervention funds after the refusal of officials of the ministry to appear before the Committee to defend the expenditure.

However, the incumbent Permanent Secretary of the Ministry, Ambassador Nura Abba Rimi appeared before the Committee on Monday and apologised for failing to honour the invitation from the House claiming that he only assumed office at the Ministry on the 21st of January 2024.

At this point, a member of the Committee Rep. Bassey Akiba (LP, Cross River) raised a point of order for entertaining the Ministry after an earlier decision by the PAC not to consider them again and therefore asked that relevant rules be set aside.

In his response, the Chairman of the Committee said he allowed them to come to achieve a fair hearing as the Permanent Secretary reached out to him saying he was barely a week in the office and that he was hearing the matter for the very first time and should be giving the benefit of the doubt to come to defend himself

In a unanimous decision, the lawmakers allowed the Ministry to resubmit a complete document within 7 working days and ordered that the Managing Director of the Bank Of Industry should be available in person on the next hearing date for the defense of the query.

Elizabeth Atime

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