Orelope-Adefulire is not having it easy presently. Sources said she is running from pillar to post, to cover up her tracks.
She could not disclose how much was spent on the supply of 502,000 face mask, 4,033 specialised hospital beds, 1502 desktops and construction of 1578 classroom blocks fitted with furniture.
Demand for explanations on how the Senior Special Assistant to the President on Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), Adejoke Orelope-Adefulire, expended public funds on covid-19 and N26.9billion worth of contracts caused arguments among members of the House of Representatives.
The occasion was the budget defence hearing by the House committee on SDGs led by Mr. Rotimi Agunsonye (APC, Lagos) on Thursday. Mrs. Orelope-Adefulire is a former deputy governor of Lagos State.
There was back and forth between the Chairman and members of the Committee as all efforts to get the SSA to respond to certain tough questions on details of expenditure for projects were stampeded.
This is not the first time the chairman of the committee would appear to be shielding the SDGs aide from thorough scrutiny as he had in June this year, issued a statement dismissings reports of alleged financial impropriety.
The presidential aide, on the other hand, believes her office is doing well in delivering on its mandate.
While, reviewing the 2020 budget of the SDGs, the President’s aide disclosed that a total of 459 contracts amounting to N26.851bn were awarded in 2020 with N3.009bn so far paid to contractors and the percentage of performance put at 11.2 percent.
The lawmakers however expressed reservations that individual contract sums were not attached to the projects executed as claimed by the SSA.
Orelope-Adefulire could not disclose how much was spent on the supply of 502,000 face mask, 4,033 specialised hospital beds, 1502 desktops and construction of 1578 classroom blocks fitted with furniture.
Other contracts for which the SSA could not disclose the contract sums are: supply of 1,196 motorcycles, 2,407 grinding machines, 2,500 sewing machines, 1, 134 50kg fertilisers, 1,315 bags of rice and 1,961 bags of 100kg rice.
Earlier, the SSA told the Committee that all projects under her agency as appropriated for in the 2019 budget were completed and fully paid for.
“We do not have any ongoing project for 2019. We do not have any abandoned or uncompleted project. No contractor is currently being owed”, she stated.
While giving an update on the 2020 budget performance, she noted that the Covid-19 pandemic and lockdown hindered progress and performance such that most of the projects were still ongoing.
“The 2020 budget performance can be said to hanging due to the Covid-19 pandemic, Nigeria like most countries were affected so it affected our performance. In fact, the lockdown affected us, although we have done all our procurement process, so some projects have already been executed while some are still ongoing.
We have completed all our procurement but the payment is ongoing. We have paid N7.5 billion. The problem this time around is procurement is very slow”, she said.
Consequently, members took turns to pick holes in both the document and oral presentation made by the SSA.