COVID-19: House C’ttee Queries Water Resources Ministry over Sinking a Borehole with N25m

COVID-19: House C’ttee Queries Water Resources Ministry over Sinking a Borehole with N25m

Juliet Akoje in Abuja

The Public Accounts Committee of the  House of Representatives currently investigating Ministries, Departments and Agencies of the federal government on the alleged mismanagement of COVID-19 intervention funds from 2020 to 2022 has queried the Federal Ministry of Water Resources for reportedly sinking  a borehole between N25million  and N12.5million naira per unit, describing it as unacceptable.

The committee, which was chaired by Hon. Bamidele Salam (PDP-Osun) also queried the N4billion reportedly spent by the ministry on the recruitment of 100 personnel for a period of three months  for a project known as Youth Engagement for Sanitation (YES) across the 774 local government areas in the country.

The Permanent Secretary of the ministry, Mrs. Didi Esther Walson-Jack, disclosed to the committee that the boreholes were sunk in some locations across the states of the federation and the Federal Capital Territory (FCT) Abuja.

She said: “In total, 299 new water schemes were embarked upon during the period, just as a total of 188 rehabilitation of old and abandoned solar boreholes were resuscitated during the period, and that  each state of the federation received N10 million intervention

But the Committee requested for the existence of such projects in order to ascertain the authenticity and avoid mixing it up with projects earlier executed by members.

The lawmakers further questioned the modality of recruitment of the personnel, full list of the youths, their account numbers, schedule of payments sent to respective banks and all other documents related to the project.

The chairman of the committee further said: “What I want this committee to note is that we are going to do project verification. Not only for this ministry but for other Ministries, Departments and Agencies (MDAs) which have said they have done one project or another. The committee will need to go and see exactly what is on ground so that we can have the value for money.”

He added that the states to be visited for the physical verification to include: Osun and Ogun in Southwest; Akwa Ibom and Edo in South-south; Imo and Ebonyi in Southeast; Kwara, Nasarawa and Benue in North Central; Katsina and Sokoto in Northwest, and Bauchi and Adamawa in Northeast.

Furthermore, the committee ordered the permanent secretary to tender all relevant documents related to every contract, procurement and the certificates needed to execute them on the next date of appearance.

 The committee, however, refused to take the submission of the representatives of the National Institute of Pharmaceutical Research and Development over the N2billion intervention funds allocated to it, and insisted that its accounting officer must appear before it in person.

Also, the committee directed the management team of the Federal Medical Centre, Jabi in Abuja to reappear before it because of the infractions noticed in the dates of contract awards.

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