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Alleged N1.6B Fraud: NEMA DG Exonerates Self, Agency, Says We Have Not Violated Any Procurement Law

The Director General, National Emergency Management Agency (NEMA), Mr. Mustapha Maihaja, has exonerated himself and the agency in the alleged misappropriation of
N1.6 billion Intervention fund.

According to him, “I’ve not violated the Procurement Act”, contrary to claims by the House of Representatives Committee on Emergency and Disaster Preparedness, that he awarded contracts to some companies which do not have tax and pension clearances which are among others, key pre-requisites for any organisation to benefit from government.

Maihaja said suspicious contracts were awarded in the agency before his assumption of duty, adding that he inherited some rots in the agency and he was doing his best to correct it.

He also refuted suggestions that he might have misled President Muhammadu Buhari, the Bureau of Public Procurement (BPP) and Nigerians in general by making emergency procurement of relief materials without approval from the president.

THISDAY reports that the NEMA boss had appeared at the continuation of the investigative hearing organised by the House of Representatives Committee on Emergency and Disaster Preparedness on an alleged violation of public trust in the agency as well as breach of due process in the award of contracts.

The committee, presided over by its Deputy Chairman, Hon. Ali Isa (APC, Gombe), further accused Maihaja of awarding contracts to some companies which do not have tax and pension clearances which are among others, key pre-requisites for any organisation to benefit from government.

It said most of the companies engaged by the relief agency were not qualified.
Lawmakers further sought explanation over delays in NEMA intervention in disaster affected areas even when funds had been released on time to that affect.

In one instance, the committee noted that although monies were received to deliver relief materials to communities, the agency responded after six months.

The lawmakers are also seeking to know how the N1.6 billion Intervention fund received by NEMA in July was applied to the 16 affected states.

But, responding to the numerous charges, the NEMA boss denied all accusation, maintaining that, “We’ve not violated any law.”

He said the agency duly wrote to BPP which never faulted the steps it took during the contractual processes- adding that certificate of no objections were even issued to the relief agency by BPP.

He urged the committee to try to understand the peculiar conditions which the agency operate in- especially when asked to adhere to due process during emergency interventions.