By John Mkom, Jalingo.
Taraba State commissioner for health, Dr. Innocent Vakai has debunked local media publication that he embezzled the sum of 1.2 billion naira COVID 19 funds contributed to manage the pandemic in the state.
Dr. Vakai, who also double as the chairman Taraba state Technical Committee On COVID 19 said the publication by the local tabloid is false and has no iota of truth.
He stated this on Tuesday in Jalingo Taraba state capital during a press briefing to clear the air on activities of the committee and also inform the people of the state on the financial expenditures and transactions on thr COVID 19 funds.
A local tabloid in Taraba state recently accused the committee chairman of single handedly embezzling a sum of 1.2 billion naira. meant to manage COVID 19 pandemic in the state for his personal use.
Vakai while speaking to journalists on the allegations said the committee has not, at any time, collected money directly from the Federal government nor any organization since its inception in March 2020.
He said all the monies sent to the state for support and management of COVID 19 has been paid directly into the state government account and not individual.
“I want to state here categorically that the state technical committee can only apply for funds through the Taraba state government account section, we don’t have an account where support funds can be paid into for me to disburse any how I want”
“If one is to apply for funds, you first of all state reasons and items, why you need such funds, you also report back to the state government with receipt of your expenditure on how the funds were expended, the newspaper accused me of building a gigantic hospital in Abuja and Yola with COVID 19 funds, I want to tell the whole world that is not true “
“I have no single health care center to my name anywhere in Nigeria, not to talk of a big hospital, I will be happy if he can go and point at these structures he mention to anybody or even the EFCF”
“How much have we collected since the outbreak of COVID 19 that one can use for such project? most of these donations you hear is not in cash, they come in items such as face mask, sanitizers, hand washing tanks, temperature testing equipment, beds for Isolation centers, treatment equipment and so many other things”
“I also want to tell the people of Taraba state that we collected a sum of 1 billion naira from the federal government not even more than that, the money was used to provide Personal Protection Equipment for our frontline workers, we also use part of it to provide equipment for our two treatment centers at Specialist Hospitals Jalingo and General Hospital Takum”
“We are a 13 man Technical Committee that was inaugurated by the governor, how can I manipulate these full grown men to bypass the state government account section and remove even more than we have been supported with in the first place? am shock with that report, am urging all the journalists in the state and beyond to always confirm issues before going to press”
Bar. Danjuma Adamu, the state commissioner for information and orientation who is also a member of the technical committee also describe the news as fake, Adamu call on the people of the state to disregard the publication and support the committee to succeed in controlling spread of the disease in the state.