House Speakers’ Public Accounts Committees, PACs, who are investigating alleged mismanagement of COVID-19 intervention funds from 2020 to 2021, questioned FERMA officials about how the agency utilized the N60 billion it was allocated for COVID-19 intervention during the epidemic on Monday.
The Committee, being chaired by Rep Bamidele Salam (PDP-OSUN), expressed disappointment over the way and manner the Management of the Agency led by its Managing Director/Chief Executive Officer Dr. Chukwuemeka Agbasi appeared before the committee with a large delegation.
The agency that was rescheduled to re-appear before the Committee on Monday could not produce enough copies of the requested documents. Instead of producing about 60 copies to be distributed to the members, there are only 11 copies and only made its submission in the morning of the same Monday as against last Friday the deadline for submission of documents
The Agency claimed that a total of 192 projects were carried out across the country, which numbers took turns to debunk that such never existed in their constituencies.
First to debunk the claim was Rep Jeremiah Umaru, the deputy chairman of the committee, who said that the road mentioned in his constituency, Wamba-Akwanga road had been in a state of disrepair for several years and was surprised to hear the MD mentioning it as part of those facelifted during the Covid-19.
Another road from Tafawa Balewa area to a location around Plateau state was also put under the spotlight as a lawmaker and member of the committee requested for the pictorial evidence of road during that period hence, saying ” in the claim of the FERMA boss his explanation, it does not sound real ”
Another lawmaker from Osun, Hon. Adewale Mauruff expressed serious concerns when he informed the committee that, a particular project which was contracted had its fund moved into direct labour without satisfactory explanation pointing out that there was no time survey was done of the raid to ascertain the need to maintain that particular section as mentioned by FERMA.
Another area that was not believed by the committee was the assertion by FERMA that it had about N8.9m still outstanding in their coffers just as a project administration fee of N9 billion was frowned
While ruling on the matter, the chairman announced that the Committee would take another criminal look into the books of the Agency and requested more specific documents, vouchers, and pictorial evidence of all the projects.
In a unanimous conclusion, the committee set up an ad hoc committee, headed by Hon. Jeremiah Umaru, to physically verify the projects as presented by FERMA.
The Agency is to reappear before the Committee.