The lower House in the National House of Assembly has asked the Federal Government to sack the Director General of the National Emergency Management Agency (NEMA) Mustapha Maijaja over alleged embezzlement of public funds.
The House of Representatives indicted the Director-General of NEMA Mr. Mustapha Maihaja, over alleged embezzlement of funds in excess of N33bn under his stewardship.
The lower house also indicted the Nigerian Vice President, Yemi Osinbajo for illegally approving the sum of N5.8bn as North-east intervention fund.
Consequently, the lawmakers asked President Buhari to sack Maihaja and directed the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) and the Independent Corrupt Practices and other related offences Commission (ICPC) to prosecute the DG and recover the funds listed against him.
The Lower House also passed a resolution reinstating sex senior members of staff of NEMA who had been suspended at the start of investigations into the affairs of the agency.
The affected staff members were listed as;
Akinbola Hakeem (Director, Finance and Accounts); Alhassan Nuhu (Director, Disaster and Risk Reduction); Emenike Umesi (Acting Director, Special Duties); Mohammed Kanar (Deputy Director, Welfare); Mamman Ibrahim (Captain of the Air Ambulance); and Yunusa Deji-Ganiyu (Assistant Chief Administrative Officer).
The House went further to reiterate that all board members of NEMA who has been involved in the suspension of the afore-mentioned members of staff be sanctioned.
This resolution had come as an investigative committee constituted by the House and chaired by a member of the All Progressives Congress (APC) from Gombe State, Mr. Ali Isa, had probed alleged abuses by Maihaja.
Mahaija was alleged to have supervised the diversion of N5.8bn which had been earmarked for “emergency intervention and food security in the North-East” in 2017, as well as another N17bn released from the Ecological Fund to NEMA.
The report of the investigative panel further noted that the funds had been released to the agency from the Consolidated Revenue Fund after a memo was issued by the office of the Acting President at the time, Yemi Osinbajo.
The report alleged the funds had been released without the approval of the National Assembly contrary to the provisions of Section 80 (4) of the 1999 Constitution.
The report further revealed that the funds had been forwarded to five companies as well as NEMA to supply food items to the IDPs in the North-East.
The companies were Dangote Rice Limited (N936.1m); Golden Agric Input Limited (N1.3bn); BUA Rice Limited (N1.3bn); WACOT Limited (N453.6m); WACOT Limited (N939.9m); and NEMA (N829m).
Read excerpts of the Report below;
“On the emergency intervention in food security in the North-East to support the population ravaged by insurgency, a sum of N5,865,671,939.26 was approved and released in June 2017 vide a memo raised from the Office of the Acting President, directing the Minister of Finance and the Accountant General of the Federation to so act.
The details further specified a directive to the Governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria from the Ministry of Finance to pay the sum from the Consolidated Revenue Fund Account which the AGF is to raise a mandate for.
This is in contravention of the approval of the National Assembly on the issuance of Euro, Bond from which the Minister authorised payment. The Euro Bond is for specified infrastructural projects and not for discretionary intervention. Furthermore, there is no specific appropriation by the National Assembly.
This contravenes Section 80 (4) of the 1999 Constitution as amended, which states, ‘No money shall be withdrawn from the Consolidated Revenue Fund or any other public fund of the Federation, except in the manner prescribed by the National Assembly.”’
The report went further to indict the former Minister of Finance, Mrs. Kemi Adeosun, the Governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria, Mr. Godwin Emefiele, and the Accountant General of the Federation, Mr. Ahmed Idris.
The report also asked the Director General to refund N700m out of the N1.6bn voted for flood victims in 16 states as well as 1.1bn being subsidy cost of 5,000 metric tons of rice from the DG, who claimed to have donated same to the World Food Programme when they were ready to pay for it or import same.
The report continued;
“The House condemns in its entirety the display of insensitivity to the plight of flood victims showed by NEMA management in the handling of the relief materials.
That the ICPC and EFCC should further investigate the matter and recover the sum of N700m from the DG, who is the accounting officer of the agency.
In view of the fact that there is no evidence that the balance of 5,000 metric tons of rice claimed to have been supplied by Olam Nigeria Limited and 3 Brothers Nigeria Limited at the cost of about N1.5bn to NEMA was received by North-East states, the money should be recovered from the NEMA DG.”
The House also asked the ICPC, EFCC and the Nigeria Police to recover the sum of N800m as demurrage for 6,779 metric tons of rice donated by the Chinese Government in support of Internally Displaced Persons in the North-East from officials in the Ministry of Budget/National Planning, Ministry of Agriculture as well as NEMA.
NEMA however released a statement rejecting the report of the House. In its statement, the agency said the conclusions of the House Committee did not reflect the facts and documents placed before the House by the agency.
Excerpts from the statement read;
“The House of Representatives, at its sitting of November 8, 2018, received the report of the House Committee on Emergency and Preparedness Response on the alleged violation of public trust against NEMA.
We were shocked to hear some of the findings and conclusions presented by the Committee on the issues, which did not reflect the facts and documents placed before it by NEMA.”