House Of Reps Panel Berates NCDC For Paying COVID-19 Funds Into Personal Accounts

The House of Representatives Public Accounts Committee has berated the Nigeria Centre for Disease Control (NCDC) for paying part of the N9 billion it received as special intervention fund by the Federal Government for COVID-19 response into the personal accounts of some of its workers.

NCDC Director General, Dr. Ifedayo Adetifa, who appeared before the committee to give account of the agency’s spending, said for March to December 2020, they got N620 million; for March 2020 to March 2021 they acquired N5 billion; and for January 2021 to September 2021 they got N3.49 billion from the Federal Government to combat the virus.

Chairman of the committee Wole Oke observed from the agency’s submissions that some of the money was paid into the private accounts of some of its staff and queried why this should be so.

He noted two instances in 2020 where the sum of N3.955 million was paid to one Kemisalo Odimayo for the establishment of additional sample collection space and the sum of N792,000 paid to one Musa Sokodabo for the construction of treatment of isolation and treatment centres in some states.

Adetifa referred the query to the procurement officer of the agency, Dania Augustus, who said money is usually paid to the account of any staff that raised a memo for any expenditure.

He also said it was expedient to pay into the private accounts at the time due the urgency of the COVID-19 response.

“Musa is a desk officer. That is to say he raises memos on issues and treats files and all that. What usually happens is that whoever raises a memo for an activity, when payment is to be made so that accounts can track record of payment, the initiator of that memo, his name is usually used,” Augustus explained.

The lawmakers were not convinced with the explanation, saying the gesture was a violation of procurement laws.

Oke said there was no justification for paying such an amount of money to any worker.The committee demanded relevant records on how the funds were expended at the next meeting.

Adetifa said the N9 billion was used for the renovation services and construction work of infectious diseases, treatment centres and isolation centres across Abuja and some states; the construction for treatment of isolation and treatment centres; procurement of medical and laboratory equipment.

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