The Senate Committee on Public Accounts has threatened to issue a Warrant of Arrest on the Permanent Secretary of the Ministry of Health and other officials in the portfolio over mismanagement of over N5.7b donor funds from international organisations.
The Chairman of the Committee, Senator Matthew Urhogbide, at a Panel hearing on Friday, said they were left with no option but to issue a Warrant of Arrest on the Ministry officials since the ministry has failed to give an account of the money spent.
Urhogbide lamented that the alleged mismanagement of funds has made some of the donors suspend the assistance due to unsatisfactory reports emanating from the Ministry of Health agencies.
One of the donor agencies, the Global Alliance for Vaccines and Immunisation, an international Non-Governmental Organisation specialising in bringing together public and private sectors with the objective of creating equal access to new and under-used vaccines for children living in the world’s poorest countries.
The mismanagement was unveiled in the 2016 Auditor General’s Report currently under consideration.
A copy of the query by the Auditor-General received by our correspondent on Tuesday noted that expenditures made by the National Primary Health Care Development Agency between January 1, 2010, and March 31, 2015, amounted to over N8 billion out of which over N187 million was not supported with any document.
The query reads, “First in 2015, by a donor named Global Alliance for Vaccines and Immunisation, an international NGO specialising in bringing together public and private sectors with the objective of creating equal access to new and under-used vaccines for children living in the world’s poorest countries.
“The NGO, with headquarters in Geneva, Switzerland, accused NPHCDA of mismanagement of funds released by the organisation and invited my office to observe the appointment of an audit firm to carry out an extended cash programme audit of GAVI funds released to NPHCDA from 2010 to 2015.
“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.”
It added, “Expenditures made by the NPHCDA between 1st January 2010 and 31st March 2015 amounted to N8,599,291,949.00, out of which 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, etc.
“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. 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.”
The committee chairman further stated, “Despite the invitations sent to the Ministry of Health none of them had to come and give an account before this Committee.”
“We have sent invitations to them to appear with no response from the Ministry, this is very unfortunate. Hence, we have no choice but to issue a Warrant of Arrest on them.”