Corruption: Covid-19 Procurements Inflated By Govt MDAs—* Federal Ministry of Health buys face mask at N10,000 each * Stakeholders kick


Press Release
October 28, 2020.

Federal Government Ministries, Departments and Agencies have been indicted reports of making inflated payments on Personal Protective Equipment (PPEs) and other items purchased to fight the COVID-19 pandemic in Nigeria.

The stakeholders were reacting to investigations by DATAPHYTE and Civic Hive which exposed government MDAs of breaching procurement processes in the fight against COVID-19 on Wednesday in Abuja, during a radio program, PUBLIC CONSCIENCE produced by the Progressive Impact Organization for Community Development, PRIMORG.

It will be recalled that an investigation by DATAPHYTE in July, 2020, indicted five government MDAs to have awarded COVID-19 emergency procurements worth ₦451.18 million to unverifiable contractors.

While CIVICHIVE’s investigation also exposed how the Federal Ministry of Health awarded 15 contracts worth N444.28 million out of 29 COVID-19 contracts to a single company.
Victor Ndukwe, an Editor at DATAPHYTE stated that there was less value for the monies spent by MDAs on procurement of COVID-19 PPEs. Stressing that despite COVID-19 pandemic prompted emergency spending, accountability was lacking in the procurements made by MDAs, alleging that companies and contractors took advantage of the times to siphon public funds.
Ndukwe lamented that despite the report on ground, no government MDA or individual has been questioned by anti-graft agencies or was any panel set up by the Federal Government to look into the allegations.

On holding MDAs accountable, he noted that the Bureau of Public Procurement can only report breach of procurement processes to the National Assembly which takes another long process.
He advocated for a real time auditing of the MDAs to enable the nation curb corruption in procurement process.
“The way forward will be real time auditing and as soon as these expenditures are blown out of order, whoever that should be brought to book should be brought to book immediately,” Ndukwe advised.

The Manager of CIVIC HIVE, Iyanuoluwa Bolarinwa who featured on the program agreed that there was no value for money spent by MDAs as far as COVID-19 expenditures were concerned.
His words: “As at the time of the investigation, N3.3 billion was going to be spent by just seven MDAs. “The contracts as a whole, there were a lot of shrouded deals that were done and it made us raised questions for example; The Ministry of health spent N37 million for just one thousand eight hundred and eight pieces of facemasks which literary put the facemasks at about N10,000 each when we were done with our calculation.

“We also found out that some of these companies and contractors does not exist in the Corporate Affairs Commission.”
Bolarinwa frowned at the bloated prices for PPEs and had these to add: “with the scarce resource at Nigeria’s disposal, we should do something different. How can one company get 15 out of 29 contracts from a particular ministry, that is actually a red flag,” he moaned.
On her part, the founder, Good Governance Awareness Initiative (GGAI), Maureen Onwukwe, lauded DATAPHYTE and CIVIC HIVE for the investigations, as well as PRIMORG for amplifying the reports.

She expressed shock that such reports have not been acted upon by relevant government agencies and anti-graft agencies. She stressed that corruption of this magnitude will definitely affect foreign and local investors in Nigeria.

She called on President Muhammadu Buhari to swiftly swing into action, investigate and bring to book those found culpable of taking advantage of the pandemic to steal public funds by inflating payments. While, urging citizens to always hold governments at all levels accountable.
The syndicated radio program is produced by PRIMORG with the support from the MACARTHUR FOUNDATION.

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