Reps uncover N1.6b NEMA scam

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  • FG explains whereabouts of recovered loot

HOUSE of Representatives Committee on Emergency and Disaster Preparedness has uncovered irregularities in award of contracts by the National Emergency Management Agency (NEMA).
This was made known yesterday by Deputy Chairman of the Committee, Ali Isa, while briefing newsmen after an investigative hearing on violation of public trust in NEMA by the Committee. It was discovered that the agency spent N1.6billon on contract awards to companies that have no tax clearance and other prerequisite qualifications as demanded by the Nigerian laws.
The amount was released to the agency by the federal government in July 2017 for relief intervention to flood victims in 16 states.
The sum was allegedly expended on contracts awarded to 216 companies.
Federal Inland Revenue Service (FIRS), the National Pension Commission (PENCOM) and the Industrial Training Fund (ITF) in their reports revealed that NEMA violated the law on tax and committed other breaches in the award of contracts to the companies.
In their separate reports, FIRS, ITF and PENCOM stated that the Director General of NEMA, Mustapha Maihaja, did not carry out due diligence and financial regulations on the companies to know their qualifications and their status before awarding them multi-million Naira contracts.
Aside the tax a law, the management was also indicted for breaching the Public Procurement Act 2007 in the ways and manners it awarded the controversial contracts.
The DG presented a Certificate of No Objection obtained from the Bureau of Public Procurement (BPP) as proof that all due process procedures were followed before the contracts were awarded.
This, however, was rejected by members of the Committee who explained that there are documents that clearly show the breaches in question whose authenticity have not been contested, and therefore, the BPP must have cleared the contracts in error.
In a further damaging revelation, the governing council of NEMA, which was inaugurated on April 3, on the same day suspended six directors that kicked against the manner the NEMA DG was awarding contracts in breach of due process.
The Committee, however, ordered that the suspended NEMA officials appear before it today for continuation of its investigation.
Meanwhile, the federal government has cleared air on the confusion over whereabouts of recovered loots, insisting that they were being paid into dedicated accounts with the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN).
Discrepancies in the figures released to the media by the Acting Chairman, Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), Ibrahim Magu, and the Minister of Finance, Kemi Adeosun, have raised suspicions over the whereabouts of the recovered funds.
While Magu announced the sum of N739 billion as the amount recovered in the first two years of his stewardship, Adeosun said records available to the Office of the Accountant-General of the Federation (OAGF) had only N91.4 billion as amounts recovered since 2015.

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