EFCC, ICPC, Others Seek to Investigate Missapropriation in COVID-19 Spending
EMERGENCY DIGEST– The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), Independent Corrupt Practices Commission (ICPC), Nigerian Financial Intelligence (NFI) and civil society organisations (CSOs) have begun tracking COVID-19 spending.
Founder of CODE and Follow the Money, Hamzat Lawal, announced this yesterday in Abuja.
The activist said the financial crimes institutions were working closely with Follow the Money and BudgIt to check the discrepancies in the spending by different government institutions.
He added that CSOs were not ready to wait for years for the findings to be discussed at the National Assembly.
Lawal also said Follow the Money, BudgIt and Global Integrity were providing citizens with a comprehensive user-friendly COVID-19 website, called the COVID-19 Transparency and Accountability Project (CTAP), which provides data on all resources committed to the COVID-19 pandemic to track governments’ level of responsiveness.
The activist spoke yesterday at the launch of the CTAP website in collaboration with BudgIt and Global Integrity in Abuja.
He said: “I’m excited …because ICPC has been working closely with BudgIt and Connected Development (CODE) on COVID-19. I’m also aware that the Nigerian Financial Intelligence units have been doing their own documentation. I’m also aware that the EFCC is doing some underlining work around this.
“I’m hoping that very soon we will have a report from these government institutions. But I also believe that the National Assembly has a role to play because we cannot wait until after two or three years, and then this report will be released. We want the National Assembly to host a public hearing and bring the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN). Bring the Ministry of Finance, bring the accountant general.
“The website currently displays information on $51.05 billion resources committed to COVID-19 across Africa; $5.08 billion In-Kind Donation as well as over 2,532 COVID datasets across Africa. Published resources featured on the website analyse post-COVID economic environment and its impact on marginalized communities.”
BudgIT’s Executive Director Seun Onigbinde said: “In tracking government’s level of responsiveness, we have shown, through data on the CTAP website, overarching issues, such as discrepancies in palliatives and cash transfer distributions, substandard healthcare compounded by the pandemic, disintegration of COVID data, vague procurement processes and blatant corruption by government officials.”