The Public Accounts Committee of the House of Representatives investigating the alleged mismanagement of COVID-19 intervention funds from 2020 to 2022 has grilled Chief Medical Directors of the nation’s Federal Medical Centres and Federal Neuro-psychiatric Hospitals over several billions of Naira allocated to their Institutions
The Committee, Chaired by Rep Bamidele Salam, uncovered several infractions in their presentations on Thursday.
The Committee, after the grilling that lasted several hours, insisted that the infractions must sorted out to justify the judicious utilisation of the amounts allocated to them during the emergency period
Consequently, the Committee discharged the CMDs with a strict directive to them to go back and reappear before it with perfect submissions to be accompanied with valid and relevant documents, failure which would attract appropriate sanctions.
Salam reiterated that the Committee would not entertain delay tactics from the MDAs and it has a timeframe within which to conclude its assignment.
The affected Federal Health Institutions are Federal Medical Centre Asaba, Delta State, N47.67 billion; National Hospital, Abuja, N47.67 billion; Federal Medical Centre, Jalingo, Taraba State, N47.67 billion; Federal Medical Centre, Birini Kudu, Jigawa State, N47. 67 billion; Federal Medical Centre, Yenegoa, Bayelsa State, N47.67 billion ; and Federal Medical Centre, Ebute-Metta, Lagos State, N47.67 billion.
Others, which also took the same allocation of N47.67 billion, are Federal Medical Centre Yola, Adamawa State; Federal Medical Centre, Azare, Baluchi State; Federal Medical Centre, Kebbi State; National Orthopaedic Hospital, Dala, Kano State; National Orthopaedic Hospital, Enugu State; Federal Neuro-Psychiatric Hospital, Enugu State; Federal Neuro-Psychiatric Hospital, Kaduna State; Federal Neuro-Psychiatric Hospital, Cross River State; Federal Neuro-Psychiatric Maiduguri, Borno State.
Others that had earlier appealed before the Committee are Federal Medical Centre Lokoja, Kogi State; Federal Medical Centre, Asaba, Delta State; National Ear Care Centre, Kaduna State; and National Eye Centre, also based in Kaduna State.
However the Committee cleared the National Eye Centre, Kaduna of all allegations, having proved that it judiciously used the money allocated to it as COVID-19 intervention.
The FMCs in Lokoja and Asaba were not lucky as presentation of conflicting figures and inability to explain certain violations of extant laws saw them falter.
The Chief Medical Director of Federal Medical Centre, Lokoja, Kogi State, Dr. Olatunde Oladeji Alabi, came under heat when the committee noted that there were a lot of gaps in his presentations
Speaking on the development, Salam said: “Apparently, the Medical Director, there are a lot of gaps in your presentation, some of which you agreed with.
“And they are very fundamental because some of the things we want to achieve with this investigation is to ensure that we have value for money.
“If you look at it, the medical centres have the same practice they are executing and it is the same standard cost.
“It is a standard practice in the medical practice that allows this.
“But the medical centres are not of the same size and capacity.
“So, we need to be sure that these items are procured using the best standard of pricing.
“And the contracts are executed to specification.
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“So, I will be setting up a sub-committee of this committee to pay a visit to your institution.”
The duo of Dr. Mustapha Abubakar, the Medical Director of National Ear Care Centre, Kaduna, and that of FMC, Asaba, Dr. Victor Azubuike, were referred to a sub-committee of the committee to reconcile their figures as well as harmonise their presentations having noticed that their oral presentations differed significantly with the documented submissions they earlier made to the committee
The probe, which was still in progress as at the press time, is to continue on Friday.