House of Representatives Committee Demands Accountability Over Alleged Misuse of Malaria Funds

The House of Representatives Committee on Anti-Malaria, HIV/AIDS, and Tuberculosis has issued a stern ultimatum to the Minister of Health and Social Welfare, Mohammed Pate, and the Permanent Secretary, Daju Kachollom, demanding their appearance within 72 hours to address allegations of misappropriation of $300 million allocated for malaria control since 2021.

Expressing their dissatisfaction with the Permanent Secretary’s repeated absence despite multiple invitations, the committee threatened to order her arrest if she fails to comply with the summons. Chairman of the Committee, Amobi Ogah, emphasized the urgency of the matter, highlighting Nigeria’s borrowing of $100 million from the Islamic Bank and an additional $200 million from the World Bank for malaria eradication projects.

Ogah underscored the importance of prioritizing local content in procurement processes, lamenting the ministry’s decision to engage the United Nations Office for Project Services for procurement activities, which incurred significant costs. He reiterated the government’s commitment to combatting malaria, emphasizing the need for transparency and accountability in the utilization of allocated funds.

Concerns were raised regarding the alleged denial of indigenous manufacturers from participating in procurement contracts for insecticidal nets and related products. Ogah emphasized the gravity of the situation, stressing the National Assembly’s role in defending the interests of Nigerians and ensuring accountability in public service delivery.

In response to a petition received from Seasons Law Firm on behalf of Rosies Textile Mills Limited, Ogah pledged the committee’s intervention to address the issue and prevent potential litigation. He assured proactive mediation to bring all parties to the table for an amicable resolution.

As the committee endeavors to uphold accountability and transparency in the management of public funds allocated for malaria control, Nigerians await the outcome of the minister and permanent secretary’s appearance before the committee and subsequent actions to address the alleged misuse of funds.

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