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Reps indict NEMA chief over alleged N33b fraud, urge prosecution


NEMA Director-General Mustapha Maihaja

Agency kicks, rejects House panel report

The House of Representatives has indicted the Managing Director of the National Emergency Management Agency (NEMA), Mustapha Maihaja, over alleged embezzlement of over N33 billion meant to offer relief materials to Nigerians.

Adopting the report of the Ali Isa-led Committee on Emergency and Disaster Preparedness, which probed alleged violation of public trust by NEMA, the House urged President Muhammadu Buhari to relieve Maihaja of his duties and be handed over to relevant authorities for prosecution.

The Reps further urged the anti-graft agencies such as the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) and the Independent Corrupt Practices and other related offences Commission (ICPC) to endeavour to recover additional N700 million from Maihaja who is the accounting officer of NEMA.The House, which also indicted top government functionaries involved in the approval, processing, release and diversion of N5.8 billion for the emergency intervention on food security in North-East, urged the security agencies to recover the monies from such government functionaries.

On the donation of 6,779 metric tonnes of rice by Chinese government for the Internally-Displaced Persons (IDPs) in the North-East, the House, among others, urged the ICPC, EFCC and the police to ensure the recovery of the payment of about N800 million demurrage from the concerned officers of the Budget and National Planning and Agriculture ministries and NEMA.

The lawmakers, while calling on NEMA and the ministries to account for the 6,779 metric tonnes of rice , urged the anti-graft agencies to probe conflicting testimonies by the aforementioned agencies to determine whether there were multiple payment transactions for demurrage.Also, on the issue of the release of N3.153 billion to NEMA for food intervention to the North-East, the House urged the ICPC and the EFCC to recover N1.5 billion being subsidised cost of 5,000 metric tonnes of rice from Maihaja who claimed they were donated to the World Food Programme (WFP).

However, the House has ordered immediate reinstatement of six officials of NEMA with their entitlements paid accordingly.Meanwhile, the National Emergency Management Agency (NEMA) has rejected the report of the House of Representatives panel, which indicted it of poor management of relief items meant for 16 states.The agency, in a statement yesterday, said some of the findings and conclusions presented by the House committee did not reflect the facts and documents placed before it by NEMA.

However, the House has ordered immediate reinstatement of six officials of NEMA. Akinbola Hakeem (Director of 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 Air Ambulance) and Yunusa Deji Ganiyu (Assistant Chief Administrative Officer) with their entitlements paid accordingly.

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