REPORT: Desert Panther swallows N33B under the protection of Lagoon shark in NEMA – House of Reps Investigation reveals

The House of Representatives Committee on Emergency and Disaster Preparedness on Thursday submitted its report on violation of Public Trust in National Emergency Management Agency (NEMA).

The Deputy Chairman House Committee on Emergency and Disaster Preparedness, Hon. Ali Isah JC while presenting the report to the house says, the investigation by the committee was able to establish that the Federal government of Nigeria lost a total sum of over N33 Billion Naira as a result of mismanagement or outright embezzlement of funds occasioned by the actions of the or inactions of the Managing Director of NEMA, Engineer Mustapha Yunusa Maihaja.

You would recall that the Federal House of Representative had in a plenary on 15th February, 2018 mandated the Committee on Emergency and Disaster Preparedness to investigate the alleged “Violation of Public Trust in National Emergency Management Agency (NEMA) and report back to it for further legislative consideration.

The Committee which was headed by the Honorable Member representing Balanga/Billiri Federal Constituency of Gombe state, Hon. Ali JC immediately swung into action by writing to critical stakeholders to elicit their view on the issues under investigation.

The committee was declared open on Wednesday 21st March 2018 by the Speaker of the House of Representatives, RT. Hon. Yakubu Dogara Who was represented by the House Leader, Rt. Hon Femi Gbajabiamila. The Committee conducted the investigation over a period of three months in 11 Public Sitting with various Stakeholders.

Invited Stakeholders who made presentations at the hearing were from
The National Emergency Management Agency (NEMA).
Office of the Accountant General of the Federation.
Federal Ministry of Finance
Central Bank of Nigeria.
Federal Ministry of Budget and National Planning.
Federal Ministry of Agriculture
Economic and Financial Crimes Commission
Governing Council of NEMA.
Office of the Head of Service of the Federation.
The Nigerian Customs Service
Nigerian Port Authority.
MAESK Line Clearing and Forwarding Agents & Transporters
APMT & Maresk Line Clearing Agents and Transport
SEMA (16 States affected by the flood and 5 out of the 6 states of the North East).
CAC
PENCOM
FIRS
ITF and
NSFT.

The Contractors invited were.
Dangote Rice LTD
BUA
WACOT
Golden Agric Input LTD
Olam Nig. LTD
3 Brothers Nigeria LTD.

It was gathered that the committee appraised the submissions made by Stakeholders involved in the matter and observed that the Chinese government donated and shipped a total of 6,779 Metric Tons of Rice, that is 271 Trucks and approximately 162,696 bags of rice into the country’s seaport in June 2017 meant for the distribution to IDPs in the North-East as food assistance.

It was discovered in the course of the investigation by the committee that more than one year after the goods were donated, there is no evidence that the 6 states of the North East who are the beneficiaries have received the Items.

The Ministry of Agriculture which was responsible for providing Silos for the storage of the rice confirmed to the committee that “No Single bag of the consignments was delivered and received from NEMA as at the time of this report.

It was also learnt that the Global View Logistics LTD and Baltic Air and Maritime Services LTD engaged to clear the rice were not registered contractors with NEMA, the companies were equally not registered contractors with NDITF and PENCOM, as required by existing law, practice and Regulation.

Due to the testimony of the Director of finance and Accounts (DFA) and some staff of NEMA on payment of demurrage which the management was not comfortable with, NEMA management hurriedly convened a Governing Council meeting of NEMA for the first time in 3 years where it took a decision I suspend the Director of Finance and 5 other staff of the Agency without due process and flagrant violation of the principle of fair hearing as guaranteed under section 36 of the 1999 constitution as amended.

The suspension took place on 2nd April, 2018 which was the date of inauguration of the Council Members by the Vice President. This was done within the period of investigation by the committee, and intended to jeopardize and obstruct the work of the committee.
– [ ] Committee confirmed that the sum of N1.6Billion was released to NEMA for the evaluation of Nigerians stranded in Libya in year 2017.
– [ ] The committee also discovered that contract awarded under this exercise were inflated.
– [ ] In the course of the investigations, the Director-General of NEMA, Eng. Mustapha Yunusa Maihaja, gives account of expenditure as the N1.6Billion to include evacuations, security personal logistics and local transport.
– [ ] F. UNACCOUNTED N17,889,050,401 RELEASED FROM ECOLOGICAL FUND TO NEMA
– [ ] FINDINGS
– [ ] The committee established that 20% of the statutory ecological funds are released to National Emergency Management Agency on monthly basis: this is in compliance with section 13(2B) of the NEMA Act.
– [ ] It was discovered that from January 2017 to May 2018 the total amount released and or received by NEMA is to the tune of N17Billion.
– [ ] Furthermore, NEMA incurs expenditure from the fund without going through statutory appropriation approval from the legislative Arm of Government.
– [ ] The committee noted that the failure of the government council of NEMA to forward the details of the amount released to it the National Assembly for Appropriation, consideration by the legislative and passage is a gross violation of the provisions of the constitution.
– [ ] Due process was also not followed by NEMA on the contract sums as the Director General exceeded his approval threshold for both capital and recurrent expenditure. Withholding and value added Taxes accruable to government for contracts executed were not remitted to FIRS; thus, resulting to loss of revenue by Government in violation of section 16 (1&2) of National Emergency Management ACT CAP N34 LFN 2004. Moreover, the Committee recommends that
– [ ] On the issue of donation of 6,779 metric tons of rice by Chinese government for IDP’s in North East, the committee recommends as follows:
– [ ] That the house condemns in strong terms the negligence and inefficiency of the Ministry of Budget and National Planning and National Emergency Management Agency (NEMA) for the long delay in collection of the donated rice from Port Terminal.
– [ ] That NEMA and the Federal Ministry of Agriculture, Ministry of Budget and National Planning should account for 6,779 Metric tons of rice donated to Nigeria Government for the benefit of IDP’s In the 6 states of North East by Chinese Government but was never received by the beneficiaries. The ICPC, EFCC and Nigeria police force (police) should conduct further investigation and prosecute where necessary.
– [ ] That the ICPC, EFCC and Police should ensure recovery of the payment of about N800m demurrage from the Concerned Officers of the Ministry of Budget and National Planning, Ministry of Agriculture and NEMA. They should further investigate the conflicting testimonies of the above agencies and determine whether there was multiple payment transactions for demurrage.
– [ ] That the suspension of six staff of NEMA by its management is an abuse of power, against the extant public service rules and a gross violation of section 36 of the 1999 constitution is amended. It is also a privileged communication under the legislative Houses (Powers and privileges) Act, any person that obstructs a witness before a legislative house is also guilty of contempt of parliament.
– [ ] It is therefore hereby recommended that the affected staff below be immediately re-instated by NEMA and the appropriate authorities and all their arrears of entitlements paid. They are ;
– [ ] 1. Mr. AKinbola Hakeem – Director, Finance and accounts
– [ ] 2. Alhassan Nuhu – Director Disaster & Risk Reduction
– [ ] 3. Mr. Emenike Umesi – Ag. Director, special duties
– [ ] 4. Mohammed Kanar – Deputy Director Welfare
– [ ] 5. Mr Mamman Ibrahim – DD captain of the air Ambulance
– [ ] 6. Yunusa Deji Ganiyu – Asst. Chief Administrative Officer.

However, the committee asked the ICPC and EFCC to to further investigate the matter and recover the sum of N700m from the Director-General of NEMA who is the accounting officer of the agency.
The committee also recommended that the the Director General of NEMA, Engineer Mustapha Yunusa Maihaja.

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