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Alleged fraud: Our investigation targeted at NEMA DG, Malhaja – Reps

The ongoing investigation into the activities of the National Emergency Management Agency (NEMA) is strictly targeted at its current leadership, the House of Representatives has revealed.

NEMA has been under investigation by the lawmakers in the past few weeks, following a motion moved by Hon. Benjamin Wayo from Benue state, which was subsequently referred to an ad hoc committee to report back in four weeks.

The agency, led by the Director-General (DG), Engr. Mustapha Maihaja, had appeared before the committee last week, when it defended the allegations of fraud, involving award of contracts to questionable companies and non-distribution of relief materials to some states.

Maihaja told the committee that the controversial N1.5 billion suspicious contracts were awarded in the agency by the former DG, before his assumption of duty.

He said he inherited some rot in the agency and he was doing his best to correct it.

On the N1.6bn contracts for the supply of materials to flood victims in 16 states in the last one year, he said they were in compliance with the Public Procurement Act.

To this end, the DG confirmed that about 6 Directors who worked with the former leadership of NEMA, where the fraud was detected, have been suspended.

But the ad hoc committee felt otherwise. Rather than inviting the former leadership of NEMA, including the suspended Directors for questioning, the lawmakers immediately ordered that the erring Directors be reinstated, as their suspension did not follow due process.

Those to be reinstated include, Director of Finance and Accounts, Akinbola Gbolahan, Ag. Director, Special Duties, Mr. Umesi Emenike and Director, Risk Reduction, Mallam Alhassan Nuhu.

Others are pilot in charge of Air Ambulance and Aviation Unit, Mr. Mamman Ali Ibrahim, the Chief Maintenance Officer, Mr. Ganiyu Yunusa Deji and the Director of Welfare, Mr. Kanar Mohammed.

The acting chairman of the committee, Hon. Ali Isa, while answering questions from newsmen after the resumed hearing on Thursday, said the committee only had the mandate to investigate the activities NEMA in the past 12 months when Maihaja became the DG.

Engr. Maihaja became the DG of NEMA April last year.

The committee chairman gave reasons why the probe would not be extended to the tenure of the immediate past DG, saying, the committee did not receive any petition against him neither was his name mentioned in the cause of investigation.

“We are not aware of anything concerning the former DG. I have not received any petition concerning that. As far as Im concerned, the commitee’s assignment that was given, was the investigations the House mandated that we should conduct from January 2017 to date, in a motion that was referred to the committee and there are specifications and referrer to that motion”, the committee chairman told journalists.

He said Yobe state had already testified against NEMA that some relief materials were not distributed in the state, adding that, more states from the North East would appear on Tuesday 24th April to give their own testimonies.

When asked if the rumour making the rounds about the vested interest of the leadership of Reps in the ongoing probe was correct, Hon. Isa said the House had no interest in the probe, adding that it was only exercising its constitutional powers as enshrined in section 89 of the 1999 constitution.

He said, “We have no other interest, we have no business with any agency that wants to investigate anyone. During our investigations, nobody, including the DG mentioned the former DG that would warrant his invitation.

“Well, the investigation is still ongoing and we are not foreclosing that we will not invite him. Anybody that is named, if the committee could send invitations to higher officers , then there is nobody that cannot be invited. We rely on section 89 of the constitution that empowers us to invite anybody to appear before the committee”.

Hearing continues Tuesday next week, when states that harbour the Internally Displaced Persons in the North East are expected to appear before the committee.











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