EFCC Invites More Top Officers Amid Reps Probe Of DG Maihaja Of NEMA



EFCC Invites More Top Officers Amid Reps Probe Of DG Maihaja Of NEMA

The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) has invited 13 more top officers of the National Emergency Management Agency (NEMA) for questioning over alleged N2.5billion scandal in the agency.

Consequently, the list of those implicated in the fraud has increased to 20.

The anti-graft commission had earlier quizzed a former Director-General and six serving directors of the agency.

A fact-sheet obtained by The Nation showed that the 13 officers invited are Deputy Director( Finance); Assistant Director( Finance); PEO; ACT 1; SEO ACT1; CA; ACT; ACA; SA; another ACT and three others whose ranks were unspecified.

A source said: “We are expecting the 13 officers to appear on or before Monday. But if they do not come, we may effect their arrest accordingly.

“They were summoned by this agency as part of the ongoing probe of large scale financial impropriety in the NEMA.

“We had earlier interrogated some directors who made references to the roles played by these 13 officers.”

The report read in part: “From the investigation carried out so far, officials could not account for funds transferred from the NEMA account to their personal accounts.

“Moreover, the funds were being withdrawn in cash and in some cases transferred to family members. Also, it was discovered that some of these funds were placed in fixed deposit; while both the principal and interest were withdrawn in cash by the depositor.

“Furthermore, the issue of companies incorporated by the officials of the NEMA who are public servants is against the Public Service Rules. This is more so as the companies are active and still receiving funds in some cases from the NEMA.

“There were frivolous emolument claims that were wrongly processed by directors and some officials of the agency.”

Meanwhile, the House of Representatives panel investigating the alleged violation of public trust by NEMA has stated that it will invite Vice President Yemi Osinbajo.

Osinbajo is the board chairman of NEMA.

During a public hearing on Thursday, the House Committee on Emergency and Disaster Preparedness, also decided to summon Ibrahim Magu, acting chairman of the EFCC and Winifred Oyo-Ita, Head of Civil Service of the Federation.

The House of Representatives had on Wednesday accused Director General of 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.

The sum was said to have been expended on contracts awarded to 216 companies that were not qualified for contract awards in the country.

On Thursday, the committee was informed that the 6,779 metric tonnes of Chinese rice, which arrived in July, 2017 in 271 containers stayed uncleared in the ports for 6 months before NEMA could get documents to commence the clearing process on December 4.

The DG said though 161 million naira has been spent in addition to the 400 million naira on transportation, delivery and logistics, the agency could not confirm that the rice has been received and accepted by the IDPs.

He also added that out of the 271 containers, only 110 have so far been cleared and taken to the north east.

Similarly, he was grilled on 3 billion naira worth of rice supply contract awarded to Olam Nigeria Limited and Two Brothers, when they did not have Tax Identification Number (TIN) and has not been paying PENCOM dues for their staff.

The director general, however, said the contracts were awarded during emergency period so the agency did not do due process on the companies.

The director, Relief and Rehabilitation, in NEMA, Mr Kayode Fagbemi, who signed the contract award letter, informed the committee the 3 billion worth of 10 thousand metric tonnes of rice contract awarded to Olam Nigeria Limited and Three Brothers, was done on the directive of the director general even though it did not comply with procurement process.

Maihaja, however, explained that though Pension Commission (PENCOM) and FIRS did not certify the companies to be qualified to do those contracts at the time the contracts were awarded, they provided the required documents before the certificate of due diligence was awarded by the Bureau of Public Procurement (BPP).

But the lawmakers maintained that that was not an excuse for the breach of extant laws that guide procurement in Nigeria, and that it is curious that in spite of not meeting requirements, the agency was bent on awarding it to Olam and Three Brothers, when other competent companies could have been engaged.




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