Why EFCC recommended suspension of NEMA directors, by Magu
The Acting Chairman of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), Malam Ibrahim Magu yesterday explained why his outfit recommended the suspension of six directors of the National Emergency Management Agency (NEMA) over allegations of financial impropriety.
Testifying before the Mr. Ali Isa led House ad hoc committee probing into allegations of violations of public trust and non -compliance of the public procurement Act by NEMA, he said the EFCC had to recommend the suspension of the directors in order not to jeopardise the outcome of an on-going investigation on financial impropriety in the agency.
Stating that the action was in the interest of the nation, he claimed that the continuous stay in office by the directors could jeopardise EFCC’s investigation. Among the suspended officials were the Director of Finance and Accounts, Akinbola Gbolahan; Ag. Director, Special Duties, Mr. Umesi Emenike; and
the Director, Risk Reduction, Mallam Alhassan Nuhu.
Others are pilot in charge of Air Ambulance and Aviation Unit, Mr. Mamman Ali Ibrahim; the Chief Maintenance Officer, Mr. Ganiyu Yunusa Deji; and the Director of Welfare, Mr. Kanar Mohammed.NEMA’s Director General, Mustapha Maihaja in his testimony confirmed that the NEMA council had to act accordingly since it was satisfied with the EFCC position on the issue.
A permanent secretary in the office of the Head of Service of the federation (HoSF), Mr. Mustapha Sulaiman, who briefed the lawmakers on disciplinary rules of the civil service said the Act that established NEMA confers on the council powers to discipline its personnel.
Maihaja ‘s position did not go down well with some committee members, who insist that the suspension of the directors was against the principle of fair hearing as enshrined in section 36 of the 1999 constitution as amended.
Gabriel Onyewinfe (APGA: Anambra) said the sudden suspension of the directors who should have served as witnesses to the committee was probing into allegation of wrongdoings was of serious concern adding that the action was an illegal act since they have not been found wanting by the court of law.
A member of the NEMA governing council, Mr. Olusegun Adekunle who spoke in the same vein explained that a criminal investigation should not be misconstrued with an administrative process. The committee also summoned officials of four shipping and clearing firms to explain how the sum of N417 million was expended as demurrage in respect of 6000 metric tonnes of rice.