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A House of Representatives panel currently investigating the alleged violation of public trust by the National Emergency Management Agency (NEMA) has stated that it will invite the Vice President, Yemi Osinbajo.

Osinbajo is the current board chairman of NEMA, which has already suspended six of its directors.

During a public hearing on Thursday by the House Committee on Emergency and Disaster Preparedness, the committee also decided to summon Ibrahim Magu, acting chairman of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) and Winifred Oyo-Ita, head of civil service.

The House of Representatives had on Wednesday accused Diretor General of the National Emergency Management Agency (NEMA), Engr Mustapha Maihaja of mismanaging N1.6bn released to him by the Federal Government in July 2017 for relief intervention to flood victims in 16 states.

The sum was said to have been expended on contracts awarded to 216 companies that were not qualified for contract awards in the country.

However, at the investigative hearing of the House on Thursday, the committee was informed that the 6,779 metric tonnes of Chinese rice, which arrived in July, 2017 in 271 containers stayed uncleared in the ports for 6 months before NEMA could get documents to commence the clearing process on December 4.

The DG said though 161 million naira has been spent in addition to the 400 million naira on transportation, delivery and logistics, the agency could not confirm that the rice has been received and accepted by the IDPs.

He also added that out of the 271 containers, only 110 have so far been cleared and taken to the north east.

But the lawmakers maintained that that was not an excuse for the breach of extant laws that guide procurement in Nigeria, and that it is curious that in spite of not meeting requirements, the agency was bent on awarding it to Olam and Three Brothers, when other competent companies could have been engaged.

Similarly, the agency was drilled for awarding 3 billion naira worth of rice supply contract to Olam Nigeria Limited and Two Brothers, when they did not even have Tax Identification Number (TIN) and has not been paying PENCOM dues for their staff.
The director general, however, said the contracts were awarded during emergency period so the agency did not do due process on the companies.

The director, Relief and Rehabilitation, in NEMA, Mr Kayode Fagbemi, who signed the contract award letter, informed the committee the 3 billion worth of 10 thousand metric tonnes of rice contract awarded to Olam Nigeria Limited and Three Brothers, was done on the directive of the director general even though it did not comply with procurement process.

The director general of NEMA, also explained that though Pension Commission (PENCOM) and FIRS did not certify the companies to be qualified to do those contracts at the time the contracts were awarded, they provided the required documents before the certificate of due diligence was awarded by the Bureau of Public Procurement (BPP).

But the lawmakers maintained that that was not an excuse for the breach of extant laws that guide procurement in Nigeria, and that it is curious that in spite of not meeting requirements, the agency was bent on awarding it to Olam and Three Brothers, when other competent companies could have been engaged.

Meanwhile, the House committee has called for the recall of the six staff of National Emergency Management Agency (NEMA), saying the process of their suspension by the agency did not follow the Civil Service guidelines.

Following the presentation of the Human Resource director of the agency, Mr Baba Inde, the members said it was apparent that due process was not followed as there was no compliance to Civil Service Rules as related to suspension of senior staff in the service.

The suspension of the affected officials by the newly-inaugurated board was in connection with the ongoing probe of the finances of NEMA by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission.

COURTESY: DAILY POST

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