House of Representatives to investigate financial misappropriation in Ministry of Women’s Affairs

The House of Representatives has announced an investigation into allegations of widespread financial misappropriation within the Federal Ministry of Women’s Affairs. This decision follows severe claims of irregular payments amounting to N510 million.

According to a Nigerian Tribune Report, the investigation was confirmed by Hon. Kafilat Ogbara, Chairman of the House Committee on Women Affairs, during an investigative hearing on a series of petitions from contractors. These petitions allege that N510 million was paid to contractors who did not participate in the bidding process. The hearing was held under the auspices of the House Committee on Procurement, chaired by Hon. Unyime Idem.

Hon. Unyime Idem presented the allegations:

“The petition concerns projects worth N510 million. Some contractors claim they executed the projects or are awaiting mobilization, only to discover the Ministry of Finance had already disbursed funds for these projects to contractors who never bid for them.”

Image Credit: The Nigerian Premium Times

Idem further explained that ten contractors had approached the National Assembly, alleging procurement fraud and demanding that the misappropriated funds be redirected to their accounts. The House Committee on Procurement has requested detailed payment records from the office of the Accountant General to clarify the discrepancies.

In response to these allegations, the Minister of Women Affairs, Mrs. Uju Kennedy-Ohaneye, defended her position, stating,

“The information from the Accountant General’s office was incorrect. Discrepancies exist in the amounts owed to contractors. I assure you that I have no intention of allowing any misappropriation.”

Mrs. Kennedy-Ohaneye also highlighted the Ministry’s financial challenges, including budget reductions and embargos by international organizations like UNICEF. She revealed that the Ministry’s budget had only recently been increased to N3.6 billion, a significant jump from previous years.

Hon. Ogbara expressed frustration over the Minister’s lack of cooperation with the Committee, citing numerous petitions against her and complaints from Ministry staff. Ogbara emphasized the need for urgent action, stating,

“There are many allegations of fund misappropriation and project irregularities. We must address these issues promptly.”

The Committee has mandated that the Minister, the Permanent Secretary, and other relevant officials appear before them on May 30, 2024, to provide further clarification on the matter. This session aims to ensure transparency and accountability in handling the Ministry’s finances and to restore trust in its operations.


React to this post!
No Comments Yet

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.