The Independent Corrupt Practices and Other Related Offences Commission, ICPC, says it has recovered and handed over a hospital worth N150 million to the Alex Ekwueme Federal University, Ndufu Alike Ikwo, FUNAI, Ebonyi.
Azuka Ogugua, ICPC spokesperson in a statement on Monday, said the recovery of the hospital was part of the commission’s Constituency Tracking Initiative launched in 2019.
She said that the Constituency and Executive Project Tracking Group, CEPTG, of ICPC had in the course of the Phase Two of its tracking exercise traced the hospital project to Ebunwana Community in Afikpo-South Local Government Area of Ebonyi.
She added that the hospital, fully equipped with state-of-the-art medical facilities, was conceived as a medical outpost of FUNAI and meant to serve as a teaching hospital for its medical students.
“The project, which was appropriated in 2019 and completed in March 2020 at the cost of N150 million, was facilitated by the then Senator representing Ebonyi-South Senatorial District, Sonni Ogbuoji.
“However, after the completion of the project, the local community unofficially took over the hospital even though it was not meant for it and went ahead to rename the facility.
“The community also appointed a consultant to manage the hospital on a profit-sharing arrangement between the community and the consultant.
“Following the illegality that shrouded the constituency project, the commission stepped in to ensure that the hospital was handed over to the institution for which it was appropriated and executed, ” she said.
ICPC’s spokesperson added that the project has been recovered by its team and handed over to the university community on March 25.
According to her, investigation is ongoing to unravel how the local community got access and took control of the hospital without any official ceremony.
The Constituency Project Tracking Initiative was launched by ICPC in 2019 and focuses on determining how well money allocated to critical sectors by the government is spent.
The initiative, according to the commission, has led to multiple recoveries of items, hospital equipment, vehicles, and funds worth billions, as well as the return of assets and equipment to communities for whom they were meant.
The initiative has also forced many contractors who hitherto had abandoned projects to return to the site to complete them.
The first phase of the exercise was held in 2019 across 12 states and the FCT and saw the tracking of 524 projects.
The second phase in 2020 had about 822 projects tracked in 16 states.
The commission in August 2021 announced the commencement of its third phase with the tracking of a total of 1,251 projects, including 1,024 constituency projects, appropriated for in 2019 and 2020.
The tracking is currently taking place in 17 states, including the FCT.