The House of Representatives has dismissed reports that the Office of the Senior Special Assistant to the President on Sustainable Development Goals, Adejoke Orelope-Adefulire, was queried over alleged award of ₦26.9bn for the procurement of COVID-19 palliatives.
The House Committee on Sustainable Development Goals made the denial during a budget defence session at the National Assembly.
Chairman of the committee, Mr Rotimi Agunsoye, stated that no such money was appropriated by the National Assembly for procurement of palliatives during the pandemic.
A member, Babatunde Hunpe, said there was no basis for querying OSSAP-SDGs or Orelope-Adefulire over any irregularities in contracts awarded or procurement of palliatives during the budget defence session.
According to Hunpe, the presentation made by the presidential aide contained a detailed analysis of the projects implemented in the previous years, which he said was unusual for public officers.
The lawmaker said, “I think there is mischief in the report. Facts before us do not show that the SDGs office participated in the procurement of palliatives neither were they queried for anything.
“As a matter of fact, members of the committee believe that Princess Orelope-Adefulire-led OSSAP-SDGs has performed creditably well, brilliantly and was well commended by the members of the committee.”
Speaking on a question on non-implementation of Special Intervention Projects, the lawmaker said the information before the committee showed that the Orelope-Adefulire could not be blamed as funds for the implementation had yet to be released to her office by the Ministry of Finance.
He said, “You don’t expect the SSA to execute projects when funds are not released. The committee could not have queried her when we knew that the finance needed for the execution of the projects is not available to her.
“In any way, most of the Ministries, Agencies and Departments of government are also having problems executing the capital component of the budgets because of the shortfall in government’s revenue.”
Another member, Mr Uju Kingsley, also said it was not possible for the office to have spent ₦26bn without appropriation
“It is impossible for an agency to spend ₦26bn without appropriation by the National Assembly. We must set the record straight so as not to put the agency in the eyes of the public,” Kingsley stated.