Audit Query: Senate Urges Health Ministry to Explain Alleged N5.7bn Donor Funds Mismanagement

Audit Query: Senate Urges Health Ministry to Explain Alleged N5.7bn Donor Funds Mismanagement

Sunday Aborisade

The Senate Public Account Committee has summoned senior management staff of the Ministry of Health to appear before it in order to explain how they managed the N5.7 billion grant from an international donor agency.

THISDAY learnt on Tuesday that the 

alleged mismanagement of the fund had forced the agency to suspend further assistance based on their unsatisfactory reports emanating from some agencies being supervised by the ministry.  

The alleged poor handling of the fund was detailed in the 2016 report of the Auditor General for the Federation currently being scrutinised by the Senator Matthew Urhoghide-led committee.

Urhoghide, at the last sitting of the panel, expressed dissatisfaction with the failure of the Permanent Secretary of the Ministry of Health and the senior officials to appear and give account of the fund.

The senator lamented that four invitations had been sent to the ministry but were ignored.

The first letter, according to him, was dated February 1, 2022, while the meeting was scheduled for February 8 and another was scheduled for March 16.

The donor agency was Global Alliance  for Vaccines and Immunisation (GAVI),  an international NGO which specialises  in bringing together public and private  sectors with the objective of creating  equal access to new and under-used  vaccine for children living in the world’s  poorest countries.

The committee chairman said the committee would be left with no other option than to demand an arrest warrant against the ministry officials so that they would explain the management of the money.

He said: “The Ministry of Health has  consistently refused to come and give account before this committee.

“We have sent invitations to them to appear with no response from the ministry. This is very unfortunate.”

The query read: “First in 2015, a donor  named Global Alliance for Vaccines and  Immunisation (GAVI), an international  NGO which specialises in bringing  together public and private sectors with  the objective of creating equal access  to new and under-used vaccine for children living in the world’s poorest countries, assisted the country.

“The NGO, with headquarters in Geneva, Switzerland, accused the National Primary Health Care Development Agency of mis-management of funds  released by the organisation.

“GAVI then invited my Office (AuGF) to  observe the appointment of an audit  firm to carry out extended cash  programme audit of GAVI funds  released to NPHCDA from 2010 to 2015.  

“There was non-adherence to laid down  procedures stipulated in Public  Procurement Act, 2007, in the  procurement of goods, services and  works valued at  N4,987,958,621.00  (Four billion, nine hundred and eighty-seven million, nine hundred and fifty-eight thousands)

“Expenditures made by the NPHCDA  between 1st January, 2010 and 31st  March, 2015  amounted  to  N8,599,291,949.00 (Eight billion, five  hundred and ninety-nine million, two  hundred and ninety-one thousand, nine  hundred and forty-nine naira).

“Out of the amount, the sum of  N187,725,160.00  was not supported  with relevant statutory and third party  documents, such as payment vouchers,  receipts, invoices, delivery notes, store  receipt vouchers, contract completion  certificates, among others.

“The sum of N18,804,865.00 was also reported to be ineligible expenditures  as  it  comprised  payments  to  suppliers  who did  not  deliver  the procured goods  or services as  per contract.

“Inadequately  supported  expenditure  amounted  to  N619,999,383.00 was also discovered. 

“This  was  mostly  attributed  to  photocopied  documents, inconsistencies  in  supporting  documents,  lack  of  contracts  with  suppliers  and lack of  evidence of  delivery  for procured goods.”

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