Ex-health minister denies complicity in alleged N300m constituency project fraud
Former Health Minister, Onyebuchi Chukwu, on Thursday, dismissed as an untrue allegation that he diverted the sum of N300m meant for the procurement and provision of facilities for the Federal Medical Centre (FMC), Gusau, Zamfara State.
He said the allegation was baseless because the said money was never part of the budget for the 2013 budget of the Ministry of Health adding that there was no way he, as the then minister, could have diverted money that was no under the purview of his ministry.
Senator Kabiru Marafa, (APC, Zamfara State) had informed the Senate on Tuesday that the N300m represented the money captured in the 2013 budget for his Constituency development project.
Marafa made the allegation when the Minister of Health, Prof. Isaac Adewole, appeared before the Senate over the deteriorating state of teaching hospitals in the country.
Chukwu was a minister of health under former President Goodluck Jonathan between April 2010 and October 2014.
The lawmaker, who represents Zamfara Central, reminded Adewole that he had once briefed him about the issue in 2015 when he assumed office as minister.
“Upon assumption of office, I had an interaction with you based on the petition I wrote to the office of the President,” he said.
But Chukwu, at a press conference in Abuja, explained that the money was captured in the budget of the FMC, Gusau.
He further stated that because the money was above the limit that an agency could approve for spending, it became difficult for FMC to ha die.
Chukwu equally disclosed that although he had nothing to do with that issue, he was aware that the then President Goodluck Jonathan, empowered the Ministry of Special Duties to handle matters related to Federal Medical Centers among others.
The former Minister said he has instructed his lawyers to look into the allegations and advise him on the next step to take.
He cautioned against the abuse of parliamentary privileges by making allegations capable of destroying Peoples character.
Chukwu was Minister of Health under former President Goodluck Jonathan between April 2010 and October 2014.