The House of Representatives Committee on Sustainable Development Goals, SDG, has given the Office of the Senior Special Assistant to the President on Sustainable Development Goals, SSAP-SDGs headed by Princess Adejoke Orelope-Adefulire, a clean bill over allegations that her office awarded N26.9billion COVID-19- related contracts.
The lawmakers said no such money was appropriated by the National Assembly for the procurement of materials, following COVID-19 pandemic.
The committee, chaired by Rotimi Agunsoye, said: “It is important to correct the narrative in the public to avoid misrepresentation of projects carried out by the agency in the past years.”
Another member, Humpe Babatunde, stressed 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.
He noted that “presentation made by her contained a detailed analysis of the projects implemented in the previous years, which was unusual of public officers.
‘’I think there is mischief in the report. Facts before us do 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 believes that the Princess Orelope-Adefulire led SSAP-SDGs has performed creditably well, brilliantly and was well commended by the members of the committee,” he said.
On the question raised on non-implementation of special intervention projects, the lawmaker said the information before the committee revealed that the SSAP-SDGs could not 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 government’s revenue,” Humpe explained.
Similarly, Uju Kingsley, on his part, said it was not possible for the agency to have spent N2.6 billion without appropriation.
“It is impossible for an agency to spend 26billion without appropriation by the National Assembly. We must set the record straight do as not to put the agency in the eyes of the public.”
The Vice Chairman of the committee, Dr Zainab Gimba, also faulted the claim, stressing that the House had 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 is of the opinion that someone somewhere was probably disturbed by her outstanding performance and decided to malign her integrity.
Also, Princess Mariam Onuoha noted that Mrs. Orelope-Adefulire deserved commendation over the manner she had been handling affairs of SSAP-SDGs.