Busted! How NEMA DG Paid N600m Into Fake Company’s Account
Delayed Flood Intervention For 1 Year
The House of Representatives was host to the Director General of the National Emergency Management Agency (NEMA), Engr. Mustapha Maihaji and his management team to respond to weighty allegations bothering on the mismanagement of intervention funds amounting to nearly N3.5 billion.
The DG who appeared before the investigative committee was grilled over several issues, amongst them was the allegation of paying the sum of N600 million to 3 Brothers, a nonexistent company, which the lawmakers claim is in flagrant violation of the Public Procurement Act.
Various lawmakers present raised concerns about the action of the DG of NEMA for awarding a contract of N600 million to the 3 Brothers Company which clearly goes beyond his threshold of approval of N200 million especially in view of President Muhammadu Buhari’s anti-corruption war.
Engr. Mustapha Maihaji who took over office on the 22nd of June 2017 was appointed by President Buhari to run and manage the affairs of NEMA has been caught up in this corruption scandal as revealed by the House of Representatives.
Members of the committee sought to know why he failed to adhere to even internal principles and mechanisms of procurement as prescribed by the Bureau of Public Procurement.
In his response to members of the committee he claimed that it was even upon his assumption of office that some departments which were not in place in NEMA were established such as the procurement department which had no single qualified officer.
He also claimed that he had elevated the performance of the agency since his arrival and is surprised that these allegations were coming up at this time.
In another related issue that the Parliament also sought answers from the DG as to how N1.6 Billion which was provided to NEMA by the Federal Government for the 16 state that were affected by flood in 2017 was spent.
One of the states which is expected to benefit from the intervention fund is Abia state. According to what was released each of these states is expected to receive the sum of N100 million each, but from documents available to the legislators Abia state was only supplied items worth about N20 million only.
Hon. Prestige Ossy who represents Aba North/Aba South Federal Constituency of Abia State expressed disappointment why these relief materials even though insufficient were not made available until after 1 year to the affected victims of the disaster.
He also queried the criteria used determine the kind of relief materials to be distributed to the affected states.
A list of items made available to our reporter showed that some states got less than what other states got without any clear explanations on the disparities.
Other members of the committee were clearly dissatisfied with the response from the DG who in most cases passed the bulk to his procurement officer, claiming that they were in charge of the signing and approving most of the contracts under his watch.
For Hon. Prestige Ossy, he says that this allocation of N20 million is totally unacceptable to him and the people of Abia state who have suffered greatly as a result of this disaster, because he will like to know what has happened to the balance of N80 million.
“In 2017 I had raised a motion of the effects of flood and erosion in Aba North and Aba South local governments of Abia state on the 12th of July 2017 and the Federal Government provided these funds to NEMA on the 27th of July 2017.”
“Federal Government released this monies 2 weeks after the floods but the relief materials from NEMA is just arriving on March 19th 2018 which is nearly 1 year after the floods.”
According to the lawmakers, If NEMA as their name implies is a national emergency agency, saddled with the responsibility of an emergency situation that requires emergency supplies and we have this kind of response only after 1 year, then the victims could as well have all died as a result of the disaster before NEMA intervenes.
The National Assembly needs to know the cause of the delay because from the presentation of the CBN and other relevant agencies the funds were readily available to NEMA.
By Uchechukwu Ugboaja, Abuja