A coalition of anti-corruption organisations, Civil Society Network Against Corruption, has called on President Muhammadu Buhari to commence a full-scale investigation into the alleged diversion of international fund in Federal Ministry of Health.
Briefing journalists in Lagos, yesterday, the chairman of Civil Society Network Against Corruption, Mr. Olarenwaju Suraju, said the Global Alliance For Vaccines and Immunisation (GAVI) had, in 2013, conducted an audit on cash grants allocated to Nigeria between 2011 and 2013.
Suraju said after the audit of its programme and support to the federal and state governments with National Primary Health Care Development Agency (NPHCDA) as principal recipient, it discoverered that a whopping $2.2 million was fraudulently diverted.
He explained that despite the alleged mismanagement and diversion of the said fund, independent investigation conducted by the network in Borno, Adamawa, Gombe Bauchi among other Northern states was at variance with GAVI’s claims.
According to the group, their investigation also showed that all contracts under the project were dully executed while provisions of the Nigerian financial regulations for the public service were duly Followed in the in the disbursement of duty.
He said, “we found letters written by the New York office of UNICEF, a UN agency and an internationally reputed organisation, officially debunking claims in GAVI report as it concerns their transaction with NPHCDA under the contract.
“The Federal Inland Revenue Service wrote acknowledgement receipt of taxes deducted by NPHCDA as against position of GAVI.”
The group wants the Buhari administration to investigate the matter because despite the spurious allegations of GAVI, the Nigerian government went ahead to refund the facility to the international donor agency without due process.
“It is to our chagrin and with consternation reading a letter from Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Health, alleging refund of the $2.2 million to GAVI by the former Minister of Finance Dr. Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala without recourse to the ministry and demanding clarification from the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC). This nothing but an act of sabotage aimed at placating an international organisation at the expense of national integrity and reputation.