A House of Representatives panel investigating the alleged violation of public trust in the National Emergency Management Agency (NEMA) has announced that it will invite Vice President, Yemi Osinbajo, who doubles as the board chairman of NEMA over the suspension of six of its directors.
During a public hearing Thursday by the house committee on emergency and disaster preparedness, the committee also decided to summon Ibrahim Magu, acting chairman of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) and Winifred Oyo-Ita, Head of Civil Service of the Federation.
The governing council of NEMA, inaugurated on April 3, on the same day suspended six directors of the agency, who were said to have kicked against the way the NEMA DG was implementing contracts.
Mustapha Maihaja, Director General of NEMA is currently being investigated by the House of Representatives for allegedly spending whopping sum of N1.6billion released to him by the Federal Government in July 2017 for relief intervention to flood victims in 16 states.
The money was said to have been expended on contracts Maihaja 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, the NEMA Chief was found to have spent the N1.6billion on contract awards to the companies who have no tax clearance and other prerequisite qualifications as demanded by the Nigerian laws.
At the investigative hearing presided over by Ali Isa, Deputy Chairman of the Committee, the Federal Inland Revenue Service (FIRS), the National Pension Commission (PENCOM) and the Industrial Training Fund (ITF) in their reports submitted to the committee revealed that Maihaja violated the law on tax and other breaches in the contracts to the companies.
The FIRS, ITF and PENCOM in their separate reports adopted by the Committee during the hearing specifically stated that he 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 benefiting 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 were Akinbola Gbolahan, Director of Finance and Accounts, Umesi Emenike, acting Director, Special Duties, and Alhassan Nuhu, Director, Risk Reduction. Others were Mamman Ali Ibrahim, pilot in charge of Air Ambulance and Aviation Unit, Ganiyu Yunusa Deji, Chief Maintenance Officer, and Kanar Mohammed, Director of Welfare.
Speaking on the suspension of the directors, Isa, ordered the NEMA boss to produce the suspended NEMA officials before the committee on the next hearing day for the continuation of the investigation and to enable the directors to 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.
The committee had 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.
During the hearing that lasted several hours, Maihaja who resumed in April 2017 was said to have failed to respond to the distress calls occasioned by floods in 16 states in which several lives were lost and properties worth billions of naira damaged.
In some of the reports submitted by the affected 16 states, he was said to have delivered emergency relief materials to Kwara, Enugu and Ebonyi states to the flood victims a year after the flood disaster occurred, while others complained that the items delivered to them were less than N50million as against the N100million approved to each of the affected states by the Federal Government.
Apart from the three states, other 13 states could not receive the emergency relief materials six months after they suffered losses prompting the House Committee to agree that the purpose of the Federal Government in releasing the sum to the affected states for emergency relief had been defeated by the action of the agency.
Specifically, the committee berated the NEMA boss for misleading the President to release the huge sum in the name of emergency situation and ambush Nigerians by refusing to act on emergency situations as demanded by the law that established the agency.