…Seek for his sack, prosecution by EFCC, reinstatement of sacked directors
…Allegations baseless, did not reflect facts, documents before Reps-NEMA boss
The House of Representatives on Thursday indicted the embattled Director – General of the National Emergency Management Agency (NEMA), Mustapha Yunusa Maihaja, of alleged involvement in fraud amounting to N33 billion, just as it demanded that he be sacked by the Presidency and prosecuted while all former sacked directors of the agency should be reinstated.
These resolutions were reached following the adoption by the House of the recommendations of the House Committee on Emergency and Disaster Preparedness which investigated violations of public trust perpetrated at the agency by Mustapha.
The House, while considering the committee’s report, also stated that based on the investigation of the special committee that probed NEMA, it established various financial infractions on the part of Mustapha resulting to the Federal Government losing over N33 billion.
The committee headed by Hon. Ali Isah in its findings, revealed that the whooping loss was as a result of embezzlement and outright mismanagement by the actions and inactions of the director general who is the accounting officer and managing director of NEMA.
Consequently, the committee recommended that the director general should be relieved of his duties by the President and be handed over to relevant authorities for prosecution.
According to the House, much of the funds stolen were from NEMA’s allocation from the Ecological Fund, approvals and releases by the Federal Government on North East intervention as well as cost implication on the 6, 779 metric tons of rice donated by the Chinese government to IDPs in the North East which was stolen.
Other recommendations adopted by the House include the reinstatement and payment of all arrears of entitlements of six suspended directors of the agency.
“NEMA, the ministries of agriculture, budget and planning should account for the stolen rice donated by the Chinese but which did not get to the beneficiaries while the ICPC, EFCC and the police should probe further and prosecute where necessary.
“The ICPC, EFCC and police should investigate some officers of NEMA, budget and planning, the agriculture ministries to ascertain if there was multiple payment for demurrage and where there is such occurrence, the affected officers should be prosecuted.
“All government officials involved in the approval, processing, release and diversion of N5.8 billion for emergency intervention of food security in the North East, which contravened the provisions of Sectiin 80(2) of the constitution, infraction of due process for procurement and loss of government revenue,
flouting of the terms of the Eurobond loan are hereby indicted and the relevant security agencies should take steps to recover the money from them,” the House further resolved.
On the sacked senior staff, the House noted that the action of NEMA management smacks of abuse of power against extant public service rules and a gross violation of Section 36 of the 1999 Constitution.
The House also warned the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) to stop providing loans to private companies and called for the probe into the N2 billion given to four companies,
while the balance of 5, 000 metric tonnes of rice claimed to have been supplied by Olam and Three Brothers Nigeria Limited, at the cost of N1.5 billion should be recovered from the NEMA chief.
But the NEMA DG, Mustapha Yunusa Maihaja, has refuted allegations by the House of Representatives that he violated public trust in its handling of rice importation worth N22.5 billion from China.
Debunking the allegations of the House in a statement made available last night, the NEMA boss added that the agency was shocked that some of the findings and conclusions presented by the Committee on the issues did not reflect the facts and documents placed before it by NEMA.
On the Port Clearance and Transportation of Emergency Food Assistance by Chinese Government, NEMA posited that the Federal Government received a total of 6,779MT of Rice for IDPs in the North East as donation by the Chinese Government which amounted to 271 containers, which arrived Apapa Ports between June and October 2017.
The agency said though the processes of securing duty exemption, waivers and other related issues took several months, the total quantity was subsequently cleared from the Apapa Port, transported and delivered to NEMA warehouses in the North East.
It added that the rice were thereafter distributed to the IDPs in the States of Adamawa, Bauchi, Borno, Gombe, Taraba and Yobe. Documents on the transaction, including distribution to the IDPs were made available to the Committee.
Putting the record straight, the Agency said the correct total value of the rice is about N2.25billion (50 million Chinese Yuan) and the amount spent on clearing, demurrage and storage was about N450 million, not the N800 million as alleged by the Committee.
NEMA also defended the suspension of the six of its officers as decision of Its Governing Council based on the Interim Report of Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), which indicted them for financial misappropriation, adding that the suspension was in line with Public Service Rules and the extant Guidelines on Appointment, Promotion and Discipline.
It also stated that due process was observed in the approval of N1.6 billion granted by the Federal Government for the Procurement and Delivery of Relief Items to 16 states affected by flood in 2017.
NEMA also said all items meant for the 16 states were received and acknowledged by respective State Governments, insisting that documents evidencing the acknowledgement of the items were made available to the House Committee.