‘How NEMA DG was shielded after alleged official indictment’
• Spokesperson says ‘our own side of the story not sought’
The last is yet to be heard of the N33 billion fraud allegation levelled against the Director General of the National Emergency Management Agency (NEMA), Mustapha Maihaja, by the House of Representatives Committee on Emergency and Disaster Preparedness.
Yesterday, a document assessed by The Guardian claimed that the presidency had earlier queried Maihaja on the strength of reports submitted by the Independent Corrupt Practices and other related Offences Commission (ICPC) and the Department of State Services (DSS).
But it was alleged that the damning reports were swept under the carpet by some powerful forces within the presidency ostensibly to save the job of the embattled DG.The query, dated January 15, 2018, with reference number SH/OVP/DCOS/LG&R/NEMA/367 was addressed to Maihaja and signed by Ade Ipaye, Deputy Chief it Staff to the President, office of the Vice President.
The documents showed that Vice President Yemi Osinbajo, acting on a directive from his boss, issued the query following a petition over several fraud allegations against the NEMA DG by one Abba Kyari Modu Gana in a petition dated November 11, 2017.
In the petition reportedly copied the presidency, especially the office of the vice president, who doubles as Chairman of the Governing Council of NEMA, the nation’s anti-graft agencies, leadership of the two chambers of the National Assembly and others, Gana alleged fraudulent practices, fraud, embezzlement, diversion of public funds as well as illegal contract approvals against Maihaja.
In the petition, it was claimed that the activities of NEMA were on smooth sail until Maihaja’s assumption of office in April 2017 when he allegedly grounded the Mobile Ambulance Intensive Care Unit of the body, the emergency response vehicles as well as the air ambulance and the helicopter which cost the nation about $100 million to put in place.
Last week, the Reps panel further worsened the beleaguered DG’s state with a fresh allegation of diversion and embezzlement of N33 billion belonging to the agency in just one year.
Contacted yesterday, NEMA spokesperson, Sani Dati, spoke scantily.He said: “I also read it in The Guardian. You should have asked us for our own side of the matter before going to press. But as it is now, I cannot comment on it.” Dati added that “a careful look at the report shows that it was not a query from the presidency, rather it was a petition written by somebody and copied NEMA.”