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Corrupt politicians loot COVID-19 funds – Groups

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GROUPS working under the aegis of Coalition of Civil Society Organisations (CSOs) have alleged corruption in the management of COVID-19 funds, saying funds were looted by corrupt government officials and policy makers.

  CSOs made the allegation in a report and policy brief released to journalists in Abuja.

  According to the report which was signed by Executive Director of Women Advocates Research and Documentation Centre (WARDC), Dr. Abiola Akiyode-Afolabi, COVID-19 funds and resources, especially donations and grants from multilateral and bilateral agencies bypassed parliamentary budget oversight and government financial management controls and processes.

  The report also said that looting became so rife because there was no sincere monitoring after CSOs were kept in the dark by government on what was being received from COVID-19 donations and how government was spending it.

  “In tracking COVID-19 funds and donations in Nigeria, available evidence suggests that apart from donations and grants from multilateral and bilateral agencies, the Federal Government of Nigeria created special funds and mobilised donations for an emergency response to coronavirus pandemic in the country, to which corporate entities and private individuals contributed.

It also shows that the funds and other resources were kept as a trust or managed through other similar arrangements, which largely remain unrecorded as they were not regarded as government revenues. As such, the funds and resources bypass parliamentary budget oversight and government financial management controls and processes.

This opens opportunities for corruption and lack of transparency and accountability. Hence, the need to design an objective model or framework for managing the large-scale funds established to help address the socio-economic impact of COVID-19; and also serve as a form of future preparedness to prevent and mitigate fraud and corruption risks related to public health crisis management and economic rescue measures,” the report reads.

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