By AbdulSalam Muhammad
KANO â€” Chairman, Meningitis Trust Fund, Justice Bashir Wali, has denied receiving car gift from US-based pharmaceuticals giant, Pfizer, following allegation by victims ofÂ sustained effort by the latter to frustrate paying full compensations to victims of 1996 Trovan test in Kano.
The former Supreme Court Justice told journalists in Kano that the Board which he oversees as chairman had no access to Pfizer fund, let alone appropriating it.
“Nobody gave me car, the one I am using was given to me by the government and it’s five years old now. Besides, we have no control of the Pfizer fund,” Wali said.
The denial by Wali was sequel to allegation that members of the Trust Board has been given SUV car each at the cost of $4.5 million made available by Pfizer for secretariat upkeep, against the backdrop of threat by victims to drag Pfizer to court again.
Wali explained that fund disbursed by Pfizer was domiciled in one of the old generation banks, stressing that expenses approved by the Board were subject to the approval of the Executive Secretary of the Board who is an appointee of the pharmaceutical giant.
“We donâ€™t have the custody of the fund and Pfizer has not transmitted a dime to the Board since its inception. We are a trustee but not trusted with anything,” Wali said.
Chairman said the Board had, however, made in-roads into its set target, pointing out that no fewer than 700 people have been identified to undergo a DNA test to ascertain their status.
He said a US-based technological institute had been commissioned to conduct the test, adding that the exercise will take six weeks.
He expressed optimism that the Board would round off its assignment in good time, pointing out that as soon as the DNA results are made available, victims will be recommended for compensation.