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FG investigate states, agencies over misappropriation of Covid19 funds

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The Federal government anti-corruption agency, The Independent Corrupt Practices and other related offences Commission (ICPC) and the office of The Accountant General of the Federation have begun to probe and audit state government, agencies and personnel who used the Covid19 grants from the government and private individuals.

The AOGF said that the internal audit process will be the same to all transactions relating to Covid19 grants and it’s reported will be taken to the Audit Monitoring Department.

The AGF, Ahmed Idris, said that any agency, ministry or department that violates the rules and regulations would be punished and the names of such MDA and its principal officers would be announced to the general public as a “measure of transparency

He mentioned these during a video-conference meeting of stakeholders on the COVID-19 Grants Management and Monitoring.

The video conference meeting was called for by the ICPC on Thursday in Abuja and the OAGF presentation was gotten by our correspondent on Friday.

However, the ICPC pointed out that it was probing alleged cases of corruption in the management of COVID-19 grants and palliatives, including some state governments in the country.

The ICPC said it would investigate alleged cases of corruption in the use of COVID-19 funds and palliatives.

The ICPC Director of Operations, Mr Akeem Lawal, said this in his presentation titled, ‘ICPC Monitoring Obligation and Strategy’.
No name or state was mentioned by the ICPC director of Operations, Mr. Lawal added that there was also a case of misappropriation of COVID-19 logistics and emergency fund for personal use.

Mr. Lawal said, “As far as avoidance in the mismanagement of COVID-19 grants is important, there is an ongoing probe regarding some cases of disbursement of palliatives and the use of grants connected with the pandemic by some public institutions in the distribution of grains from the strategic food reserve.

Mr. Lawal also said agencies may have been involved in corrupt practices as regards the procurement of COVID-19 palliatives, Personal Protective Equipment and community enlightenment activities as well as instances where state governments used COVID-19 pandemic for financial exploitation.

The anti-corruption agency will also question officials who is alleged to have been involved in the misappropriation of COVID-19 palliatives, Personal Protective Equipment and community enlightenment activities.

The OAGF in his statement disclosed that the main CACOVID Fund Account with the Central Bank of Nigeria, the President, Major General Muhammadu Buhari (retd.), approved the opening of five private sector COVID-19 donor accounts with five commercial banks which include; Zenith, Access, Guaranty Trust, United Bank for Africa and First Bank.

The money generated from the private sector, which is over the sum of N25bn, including government funds, had been distributed for different intervention purposes by the Central Bank of Nigeria, ministries, agencies and departments since the month of May.

The AGF, Ahmed Idris, had affirmed the auditing of COVID-19 funds would be set up in a paper which he will present in Abuja, titled, ‘Framework for the Management of COVID-19 Funds in Nigeria under the Treasury Single Account.’

The AGF, Idris, disclosed that, “Internal Audit processes will be used for all transactions relating to COVID-19 grants.

Paraventure there is an urgent nature of expenditures under this fund, proper pre-payment audit was not done or even where proper pre-payment audit was done, internal auditors are charged to see out detailed post-payment audit and review of all transactions and to immediately forward their findings to the Audit Monitoring Department of the OAGF.

He mentioned that thier findings shall be forwarded to the TSA Department to test the adequacy of the overall TSA architecture in re-enforcing internal controls and blocking any form of leakages. Internal auditors are to make sure that published reports give true accounts of the transactions and accounts operated.

He also stated that any auditor who have a problem discharging his/her duties diligently should immediately report and write to the office of the Accountant General of the Federation for the attention of the director, Audit Monitoring. Afterwards a copy will be sent to the office of the Director, Single Treasury Account.

He concluded that, any MDA that is found wanting for violating the stated guidelines as regards the use of the Covid19 funds shall be sanction from the continuous participation in the program.

Also for violating the protocols the MDA and it’s principal officers name will be made known to the public for the measure of transparency.

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