House of Reps. Prosecution of NEMA Boss Over N33bn Alleged Fraud

The House of Representatives Thursday directed that the Director-General of the National Emergency Management Agency (NEMA), Mustapha Maihaja, should refund N33bn illegally appropriated to the agency.
The House also slammed Vice-President Yemi Osinbajo for illegally approving N5.8bn North-East Intervention Fund, for the agency without passing through known law.
The House therefore called on President Muhammadu Buhari to act fast and sack Maihaja.
The House recommended that 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.
Six senior members of staff, who were placed on suspension earlier in the year as the House began investigation into NEMA’s operations, were also asked to be reinstated immediately.
They are 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).
“All the NEMA board members who were involved in their suspension should be sanctioned,” the House stated.
An ad hoc committee of the House chaired by a member of the All Progressives Congress from Gombe State, Mr Ali Isa, had probed alleged abuses by Maihaja and recommended his sacking.
The House in plenary on Thursday endorsed the report of the panel.
Among the major infractions was that government officials diverted the sum of N5.8bn earmarked for “emergency intervention and food security in the North-East” in 2017, and another N17bn released from the Ecological Fund to NEMA.
On the N5.8bn, the panel’s report noted that a memo by the Office of the then Acting President Yemi Osinbajo authorised its release in June 2017 from the Consolidated Revenue Fund of the Federation without prior approval by the National Assembly.
The report observed that this was a violation of Section 80 (4) of the 1999 Constitution.
The money was paid to five companies and 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).
Osinbajo is the Chairman of the board of NEMA.
The report reads: “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.”’
Other government officials involved in the release of the money were the former Minister of Finance, Mrs Kemi Adeosun, the Governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria, Godwin Emefiele, and the Accountant General of the Federation, Ahmed Idris.

Author: News Editor

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