EFCC, ICPC must arrest govt officials involved in phantom $19.6m COVID-19 procurements –HURIWA

Civil rights advocacy group, Human Rights Writers Association of Nigeria (HURIWA), on Tuesday, called for the arrest of government officials involved in a phantom $19.6m COVID-19 procurements.

HURIWA’s National Coordinator, Comrade Emmanuel Onwubiko, in a statement, asked the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission as well as the Independent Corrupt Practices and Other Related Offences Commission to go after the corrupt government officials exposed by an audit of Global Fund.

Recall that an audit of the COVID-19 grant given to the Federal Government of Nigeria through the Global Fund disclosed that $19.6m worth of COVID-19 procurements were awarded to contractors without financial statements and unregistered businesses among others.

The report read, “The audit noted non-adherence with eligibility requirements for 67% (six out of nine) of sampled procurements totalling US $7.5m, where vendors were awarded contracts without providing bank/performance guarantees, despite this being a pre-condition for contract awards.

“A joint venture was awarded two contracts worth $3.5m without being legally registered, and without providing the bank/performance guarantee.

“In addition, eight of nine sampled vendors were awarded contracts amounting to $8.6m despite not providing certified financial statements.”

Reacting, HURIWA’s Onwubiko said, “The silence of the anti-graft commission is worrisome. The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission and the Independent Corrupt Practices and Other Related Offences Commission must explain to Nigerians why they are not doing their statutory duty to apprehend the government officials indicted by the Global fund.

“The EFCC and the ICPC must effect immediate action on this scam to recover the stolen money within 48 hours or civil society organisations will be mobilised to take legitimate actions to either compel investigation, prosecution or name and shame the persons involved in the mismanagement of these humongous amount of public fund.

“All those involved in the Federal Ministry of Health and its agencies including the National Agency for the Control, the Nigeria Centre for Disease Control, amongst others must be exposed.”

Emmanuel Onwubiko
July 12, 2022

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