COVID-19 procument scam: How govt ministry, agency purchased one face mask, thermometer at N25, 000, N84, 000 – Investigation

A media research and data analytics organisation, Dataphyte, has revealed how federal government Ministries, Departments and Agencies (MDAs) mismanaged at least N3 billion in COVID-19 emergency procurements, according to data at their disposal.

This was revealed by the senior data reporter at Dataphyte, Aderemi Ojekunle, during a special radio town hall meeting against corruption, organised by Progressive Impact Organization for Community Development, (PRIMORG) held on Friday, with the support from MacArthur Foundation in Abuja.

Dataphyte’s statement is coming on the heels of investigative reports showing that emergency expenses by MDAs were floored by lack of strict mechanism, bureaucratic process, underhand deals in procurement procedures and inflation of prices.
Ojekunle bemoaned wastage of scarce resources by MDAs and stressed that the situation was more pathetic because of over bloating of prices of Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) should not be the case during a pandemic.

“Over N3 billion has been wasted, mismanaged by various MDAs and according to the various reports I have done on COVID-19, and if we look at the impact of this N3 billion, it would have caused Nigeria to build a lot of schools, hospitals and help us to manage a lot of things in society,” Ojekunle stated Iyanuoluwa Bolarinwa, Manager at CIVIC HIVE also revealed during the program that the Federal Ministry of Health’s claimed to have spent about N37 million on 1800 pieces of face masks, representing purchase of each face mask at about N25,000. On a similar note, a reporter at International Centre for Investigative Reporting (ICIR), Amos Abba, added that their investigations exposed that National Primary Health Care Development Agency (NPHCDA) purchased thermometers at about N84,000 each, as against N25,000 sold at open market as at the time of the investigation.

Community Engagement officer at Connected Development (CODE), Uzochukwu Ohanyere, also revealed that the federal government received over N95 billion in COVID-19 donations. 
He, however, lamented the federal and state government’s unwillingness to respond to Freedom of Information (FOI) requests.
While expressing worry over lack of transparency in public offices, he stressed that lack of sanctions on MDAs indicted of misappropriation was breeding more corruption in the public service.
On ways to curb corruption in public service and procurement, Bolarinwa called for creation of a bill to empower Auditor General of the Federation to take action against MDAs found wanting, while Abba suggested that naming and shaming of corrupt government officials and MDAs would drastically reduce corruption in public service.  

On his part, a political analyst, Jonathan Ipaa, stated that corruption in Nigeria with funds donated to help the nation during a pandemic was very unfortunate, and is tarnishing the nation’s image the more.
Ipaa urged the citizens to get involved in governance and be at the forefront of holding the public office holders accountable.

The PRIMORG’s town hall meeting against corruption is aimed at calling the public and government attention to specific issues of corruption in Nigeria.

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