The House of Representatives on Wednesday accused Director General of the National Emergency Management Agency (NEMA), Engr Mustapha Maihaja of mismanaging N1.6bn released to him by the Federal Government in July 2017 for relief intervention to flood victims in 16 states.
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The sum was said to have been expended on contracts awarded to 216 companies that were not qualified for contract awards in the country.
At an investigative hearing on the violation of public trust in NEMA by the House Committee on Emergency and Disaster Preparedness, Maihaja was said to have spent the N1.6bn on contract awards to the companies who have no tax clearance and other prerequisite qualifications as demanded by the Nigerian laws.
The hearing was presided over by the Deputy Chairman of the Committee, Hon. Ali Isa.
In their reports, the Federal Inland Revenue Service (FIRS), the National Pension Commission (PENCOM) and the Industrial Training Fund (ITF), revealed that the NEMA boss violated the law on tax and other breaches in the contracts to the companies.
The separate reports adopted by the Committee during the hearing specifically stated that the NEMA’s boss did not carry out due diligence and financial regulations on the companies to know their qualifications and their status before awarding the multi-million Naira contracts to them.
Apart from the tax laws, Maihaja was also indicted for breaching the Public Procurement Act 2007 in his refusal to follow the relevant laws of procurement in the ways and manners he awarded the controversial contracts to the benefitting companies.
The committee was told that the governing council of NEMA inaugurated on April 3, 2018,on the same day suspended six directors of the agency who were said to have kicked against the ways and manners the NEMA boss was implementing contracts awards in breach of due process.
The suspended officers are Director of Finance and Accounts, Akinbola Gbolahan; Ag. Director, Special Duties, Mr. Umesi Emenike; and Director, Risk Reduction, Mallam Alhassan Nuhu. Others are pilot in charge of Air Ambulance and Aviation Unit, Mr. Mamman Ali Ibrahim; the Chief Maintenance Officer, Mr. Ganiyu Yunusa Deji; and the Director of Welfare, Mr. Kanar Mohammed.
The Committee acting Chairman, Hon. Isa, however, ordered the NEMA boss to produce the suspended NEMA officials before the committee on Thursday for continuation of the investigation and to enable the directors give evidence in the interest of fair hearing.
The suspension of the officers was said to be arbitrary and suspicious especially in the ways and manner it was purportedly carried out by the governing council the same day the council was inaugurated.
Maihaja is also expected to shed light on how intervention to victims of Boko Haram in North-East and how he managed the 6776metric tonnes of rice donated by Chinese government
The committee also queried Maihaja in his claim that the report of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) recommended the suspension of the officers. while the DG who was also facing investigation along with directors was left out of the suspension in the purported EFCC’s report.
The committee had earlier threatened to refer the NEMA boss to trial on perjury when it was discovered that he was not giving appropriate answers to the questions put to him regarding controversies surrounding the spending of the flood funds.
Source Daily Post is