Coronavirus: Donations received not properly accounted for – Lawan tells FG

Senate President, Ahmad Lawan has said that the donations received from public-spirited individuals, corporate bodies and institutions to support the fight against coronavirus was not properly accounted for.

Lawan said this at a meeting between the leadership of the National Assembly and members of the Task Force on COVID-19 headed by the Secretary to the Government of the Federation, Boss Mustapha.

Lawan said the donations should go to only one common platform, not multiple accounts.

“I believe that we face one critical challenge today in our fight against COVID-19. We have donations made by various organisations, corporate bodies and so on but it is my candid opinion that there’s no coordination” Lawan was quoted as saying in a statement by his spokesman, Ola Awoniyi.

“The corporate Nigeria, as I was told, as at yesterday (Wednesday), had gathered N22bn, the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation, I was told, had $28m, the CBN and the banks, I don’t know how much they have. The National Assembly, the ministers and so many individuals and institutions have also made donations.

“I believe we must have a central body and not the PTF nor the corporate groups should receive and manage the funds but based on what the Constitution provides for.

“Where everybody is just collecting and spending, I think it’ll lead us in a very bad shape. When people contribute their funds, they want to see such funds properly utilised. They want to see efficiency. They want to see transparency. They want to see accountability and of course, probity in what the funds are used for.

“There could be duplication, working across purposes. At the end of the day, there’ll certainly be inefficiency in the application of such resources,” Lawan said.

He urged the task force to have a better coordination to avoid duplication or the relevant bodies working at cross purposes.

Responding, Mustapha said for transparency and accountability, the task force would not be directly involved in the collection and disbursement of the cash donations for COVID-19.

“All the main COVID-19 accounts shall be domiciled in the Central Bank of Nigeria. However, all non-cash donations shall be duly received by the PTF, acknowledged, documented and appropriately deployed,” he said.