Reps clear SDG boss of alleged N26.9bn COVID-19 expenditure

The House of Representatives Committee on Sustainable Development Goals (SDG) has debunked reports that the management of the Office of the Senior Special Assistant to the President on Sustainable Development Goals, OSSAP-SDGs under Princess Adejoke Orelope-Adefulire was queried over the alleged award of N26.9bn COVID-19 related procurements during a recent budget defence session at the National Assembly.

The Committee pointed out that no such money was appropriated by the National Assembly for the procurement of materials the COVID-19 pandemic.

The committee chaired by Rep. Rotimi Agunsoye said that it was important to correct the narrative in the public to avoid misrepresentation of projects carried out by the agency in the past years.

Speaking with newsmen in Abuja on Friday, Hon. Humpe Akande Babatunde, representing Badagry Federal Constituency said that there was no basis for querying OSSAP-SDGs or Princess Adejoke Orelope-Adefulire over any irregularities in contract award or procurement of palliatives during the budget defence session as the presentation made by her contained a detailed analysis of the projects implemented in the previous years, which was unusual of public officers.

According to him, “I think there is a mischief in the report. Facts before us did 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.”

On the question raised on non-implementation of special intervention projects, the lawmaker said that “the information before the Committee revealed that the OSSAP-SDGs cannot be blamed as funds for the implementation were yet to be released to her office by the Ministry of Finance.”

“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 the government’s revenue.”

Also Speaking, a member of the Committee, Rep. Uju Kingsley Imo State said it was not possible for the Agency to have spent N26billion without appropriation.

“It is impossible for an agency to spend N26billion without appropriation by the National Assembly, we must set the record straight so as not to put the agency in the hands of the public.”

In the same vein, the Vice Chairman of the Committee, Hon. Dr Zainab Gimba faulted the fake report insisting that the House has not found Princess Orelope-Adefulire wanting in the discharge of her assignments and advised against peddling of fake news against her or her office as was done twice earlier in the year.

She was of the opinion that someone somewhere was probably disturbed by her outstanding performances and decided to malign her integrity by all means.

Representative Princess Mariam Onuoha representing Isiala Mbano/Okigwe Federal Constituency had during the budget defence session noted that Princess Orelope-Adefulire deserved commendation over the manner she had been handling affairs of OSSAP-SDGs. But she asked for location of more intervention projects in her constituency for the benefits of her people.

Recall that the members had at the end of the presentation by the SSA commended her and her Office for their outstanding performance, as well as the accuracy, accountability, transparency and detailed presentation of relevant documents submitted to the Committee.

The members also lauded the Office for standing out as one of the MDAs with 100 per cent completion of projects and without any debts from 2016 till date.

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