Where is the Anambra Covid-19 Fund? asks Harris Chuma

Posted by News Express | 7 July 2020 | 1,066 times

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•Comr. Harris Chuma (Ogene Igbo)

A trustee has significant authority over the management of a Trust Fund. Accordingly, the trustee has numerous legal duties and obligations. The law places a fiduciary duty on the trustee, meaning the trustee must place the interests of trust beneficiaries first when making decisions regarding the management of a trust. A trustee cannot fail to account for actions taken on behalf of the trust, and otherwise inhibit distributions, or negligently manage trust assets.

At the wake of Coronavirus in Nigeria, precisely in February 2020, Anambra State Government went on the aggressive campaign calling for Community Support Fund to enable the state curb the wild spread of the novel pandemic. Great efforts were made by Gov Willie Obiano’s administration towards galvanising and mobilising wealthy individuals, corporate bodies, financial institutions, politicians, even the Church to support Government financially or materially in the fight against Coronavirus incursion into the state.

Thereafter, Chief Willie Obiano’s Government established a Covid-19 Task Force/Team ably headed by the handsome and erudite Secretary to State Government (SSG), Professor Solo Chukwulobelu. Quickly, a Trust Fund was created to warehouse the torrential financial contributions gushing in from faithful donors, popular philanthropists, corporate bodies, nongovernmental organisations, political bigwigs, captains of industry, notable business men and women, good spirited Anambrarians both home and in Diaspora, people of good will, who donated hugely to the cause.

Three months down the line, It’s astounding that despite the government’s assurances to the purpose of financing Covid-19 war in the state, the Fund which was not dangerously underfunded, has been voted financially incapable of fulfilling the Fund’s purpose. The citizens are in the dark on how the funds were used, being used or managed, and what kept the trustees confident and comfortable withholding relevant information on the Covid-19 support funds. The unusual calm chilling the Governor’s Covid-19 Team had only recently prompted the supposed beneficiaries of the Trust to begin to ask questions, demanding to know if the funds have been used or abused.

During times of uncertainty and crisis, people come together to support one another. COVID-19 is a test of our collective strength as millions are on lockdown and businesses are closing, unemployment is spiking. Families are bereft of source of income, feeding the kids, making the rent and keeping the lights on is tougher for many of us ndi Anambra than ever before. Chief Willie Obiano’s Government, like his predecessors, has always taken pride in a feeling of community, a culture of trust, and a way of doing things that was a little bit different from every other states. But it wasn’t until recently that we began to realize just how differently things had been done. Why would ndi Anambra beg to know about the donations made to the Covid-19 purse, how was it, or being used?

As at the last count, three prominent Social Rights groups are aiming at suing the Anambra Covid-19 Task Force Team for what they termed mismanagement of information on the Special Covid-19 Trust Fund (SCTF), and its related failure to comply with Federal reporting requirements. It is noteworthy to mention that at the Federal level, the Presidential Task Force (PTF) have routinely spelt out to Nigerians all their financial dealings, commitments, resolutions, actions and projections. Even, Covid-19 financial reports are made public, and no information is hoarded. With the enviable precedence set by the Presidential Task Force, PTF, one wonders what emboldened Anambra Covid-19 Task Force to be discreet with the administration of huge financial donations warehoused to fight the dreaded disease. Where is the Fund? Is it Used or Abused? Asim ka m jua……!


•Comr. Harris Chuma (Ogene Igbo) writes from Awka, Anambra State.

Source: News Express

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