Monday, April 8, 2019

Reps panel: We’ve uncovered ‘N1.6bn fraud’ at NEMA

Reps panel: We’ve uncovered ‘N1.6bn fraud’ at NEMA
April 11
20:28 2018

A house of representatives committee says it has discovered how Mustapha Maihaja, director-general of the National Emergency Management Agency (NEMA), allegedly misused the sum of N1.6 billion meant for the purchase of relief materials.

The money, released to him by the federal government in July 2017, was for intervention purposes for flood victims in 16 states.

But an investigative hearing organised by the house committee on emergency and disaster preparedness said Maihaja used the money to award contracts to 216 unqualified companies.

Reports submitted at the hearing by the Federal Inland Revenue Service (FIRS), the National Pension Commission (PENCOM) and the Industrial Training Fund (ITF) reportedly showed how the NEMA DG violated the law on tax and other breaches in the contracts awarded to the companies.

He was also indicted for allegedly breaching the public procurement act 2007, in his purported refusal to follow the relevant laws of procurement in the award of the contracts.

The committee said it also learnt that six directors of the agency who were said to have kicked against Maihaja’s “inadequacies”  were suspended by the agency’s governing council.

It said reports from various states also showed that Maihaja failed to respond fast to the distress calls occasioned by flood in the affected states.

For instance, NEMA was said to have delivered emergency relief materials to flood victims in Kwara, Enugu and Ebonyi states a year after the flood disaster occurred.

Also, some states complained that the items delivered to them were worth less than N50 million as against the N100 million the federal government approved for each state.

At the end of submissions from the various parties in attendance, the committee adjourned till April 13, to enable Maihaja produce the six suspended officers for testimonies.

He is also expected to shed light on the intervention to victims of Boko Haram in north-east and how the agency managed the 6776 metric tonnes of rice donated by Chinese government.


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