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Covid-19: SERAP Urges Buhari To Probe Misused N4.5bn Funds By Kogi Government

Governor Yahaya Bello

Socio-Economic Rights and Accountability Project (SERAP) has sent a letter to President Muhammadu Buhari to “direct the Attorney General of the Federation and Minister of Justice Abubakar Malami, SAN and appropriate anti-corruption agencies to investigate the alleged misuse of the N4.5 billion donations, loans and support the Kogi State government obtained from the Federal Government, including N90,720,000 reportedly spent on software to track COVID-19 cases in the state”.

SERAP opined that, “if there is relevant and sufficient admissible evidence, anyone suspected to be involved should face prosecution, as appropriate”.

The letter which was sent on the 27th of March, 2021, and signed by SERAP deputy director Kolawole Oluwadare, stated that:

“Directing the Attorney General of the Federation and appropriate anti-corruption agencies as recommended is constitutional, and would be entirely consistent with your promise in your inaugural speech to ‘ensure responsible and accountable governance at all levels of government in the country”.

Alluding to Buhari’s inaugural speech on 29th May, 2015 that gross corruption at the local level is checked, SERAP urged the President to checkmate the alleged misuse of N4.5 billion naira Covid-19 donations.

The letter stated that, “Although primarily a matter of concern for Kogi State, the allegations of misuse of COVID-19 funds drawn from the Federal Government have assumed such a proportion as to become a matter of concern to the federation as a whole, and therefore, to your government”.

The letter also made it known that, “Taking prompt action to probe the allegations would promote transparency and accountability, serve the common good, peace, order and good government of the federation (which includes Kogi State). It would help to enhance your government’s fight against corruption and contribute hugely to improving the public confidence and trust in your commitment to combat grand corruption”.

SERAP added that, “We would be grateful if the recommended measures are taken within 14 days of the receipt and/or publication of this letter. If we have not heard from you by then, SERAP shall take all appropriate legal actions to compel your government to comply with our request”.

Meanwhile, the body revealed that, “According to our information, the Kogi State Government in 2020 allegedly spent N90,720,000 on ‘COVID-19 software.’

The software was reportedly approved by Governor Yahaya Bello for tracking COVID-19 cases and prevent the spread of the disease in the state. However, the company that developed the software has reportedly stated that it costs only N300,000″.

SERAP revealed further that, “The software has reportedly stopped functioning just one year after it was installed. The N90,720,000 spent on COVID-19 software is part of the N4.5 billion donations, loans and support, which Kogi State reportedly obtained from the Federal Government”.

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Esther Ifeoluwa

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