In a decisive move to retrieve the missing COVID-19 Funds, the Public Accounts Committee of the House of Representatives has mandated the Federal Fire Service to reimburse N1.48 billion to the Federation Account within a week.
The committee expressed concern over the service’s failure to adequately account for COVID-19 intervention funds received in 2020, despite three summons to appear at the investigative hearing.
Deputy Chairman Jeremiah Umar stressed the importance of cooperation, citing the responsiveness of many other agencies involved in the committee’s investigations.
The committee, dissatisfied with the Fire Service’s lack of clarity on COVID-19 expenditures, motioned for a refund, signalling the gravity of the matter.
Committee leader Bamidele Salam voiced disappointment over the Fire Service’s repeated non-compliance and warned of potential sanctions if the invited entities, including the Federal Ministry of Agriculture and Food Security, Office of the Accountant General of the Federation, Federal Ministry of Women Affairs, National Centre for Women Development, National Centre for Disease Control, and the Federal Ministry of Health, fail to appear within the stipulated timeframe.
Salam emphasized the committee’s commitment to addressing various assignments, including the ongoing COVID-19 probe, and highlighted the repercussions for public officers who fail to respond satisfactorily to audit queries within the specified timeframe.