News Column

Alleged Scam At Kogi Aids Agency Over N78 Million World Bank Grant

July 15, 2014

John Akubo



SCANDAL involving misappropriation of about N78 million donated by the World Bank for the control of HIV/AIDS in Kogi State is threatening credibility of the management of Kogi State Agency for the Control of AIDS (KOSACA).

The agency is being fingered for misappropriation of the fund meant to be disbursed to various Non Governmental Organisations (NGOs) to curtail the spread of the deadly virus in the state.

The Guardian's findings revealed that the money was cornered by some staff of the agency who had quickly set up their emergency NGOs to divert the funds for selfish reasons.

Further investigations unearthed that some of the NGOs were non-existent because they can hardly be traced to any location or office as they merely existed on papers and the few with offices are traceable to staff and government officials.

One of the NGOs operators in the state who spoke on condition of anonymity, said unlike other States of the federation where due process is followed for the selection of qualified NGOs who could assess the fund, that of Kogi was fraught with irregularities

He said out of over 160 NGOs in the state, only 18 of them were successful to get the grant.

He added that out of the 18 NGOs only three or four are actually owned by genuine NGOs operators while the remaining 15 are falsified and owned by government officials.

He disclosed that the successful NGOs who got the grant were forced to part with about 50 per cent of the funds as kickbacks to the management of the agency.

Our investigations also revealed that KOWEN an NGO owned by the wife of the governor which was established less than two years ago was allocated a whooping N17 million even though it has no office nor staff to efficiently carry out the job.

The agency was also accused of wasting the World Bank donations by purchasing N5 million women condoms, which are not in use currently in their office in Lokoja.

This scandal, it was learnt, made a Human Right activist in the state, Comrade Idris Miliki to petition the State Assembly over the activities of KOSACA in the state.

He urged the Assembly to, as a matter of public interest, urgently summon the management of the agency to explain how they disbursed the World Bank aids as he alleged that the money have been diverted to private pockets while persons with HIV/ AIDS in the state are suffering in silence.

When contacted on her own side of the story, the Executive Director of the agency Hajia Rainatu Bala denied the allegations and said contrary to insinuations the agency followed due process in the disbursement of the fund.

The Executive Director who spoke through the project manager, Dr Gabriel Musa however said the guildeline for the disbursement of the fund did not specify that NGOs owned by government official should not be patronized.

Meanwhile, researchers at the German Research Centre for Environmental Health in Munich say Geranium plants could hold the key to a new generation of Human Immuno-deficiency Virus (HIV) treatments.

Another study say vegetarians are less healthy than meat-eaters, a controversial study has concluded, despite drinking less, smoking less and being more physically active than their carnivorous counterparts.

And although tobacco has been associated with and much maligned for causing cancers, researchers have now found that its plant's defence mechanism could well work in humans to destroy invading cancer cells.

The study was published in the journal eLife.


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Source: AllAfrica


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