Accountant General of the Federation and Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) as well as other stakeholders involved in the supply of food items to internally displaced persons (IDPs) on Wednesday cleared National Emergency Management Agency (NEMA) of alleged misappropriation of N5.6 billion intervention fund.
According to the stakeholders who converged at the ongoing investigative hearing into the activities of NEMA, the funds were paid directly to suppliers of food items through the apex bank in 2017.
Ahmed Idris, AGF who was presented by Mohammed Usman, oAGF’s Director of Funds, explained that the funds for the supply in response to threat issued by international donor agencies to scale down funding in the region and the need to guarantee safety of thousands of IDPs.
According to him, the sum of “N5.8 billion was released to five companies and N829 million to NEMA for logistics.
“The objective of the release of the fund was the scaling down of international donors’ food funding in the region by 85 percent.
“However no money was given to NEMA other than the money for logistics but it was charged to the Consolidated Revenue Fund.
“I would have come with the records concerning reasons for the release of the Fund of the committee had included in what we were asked to provide the Committee with,” the AGF said.
On its part, Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) confirmed the disbursement of the Fund was in accordance with a mandate from the oAGF.
Representative of the companies involved in the supply of the relief food items also confirmed that NEMA did not pay them for the cost of the food materials supplied during the period under review.
In the same vein, Ahmed Hasheen, who spoke on behalf of the companies that supplied maize worth N936 million, disclosed that the company has no formal contract with NEMA.
He however observed that CBN engaged the companies to mop up food items around the country in 2016 in anticipation of off season.
“In December 2016, with others in food business, we were given money by CBN to mop up grains from local markets so that it can be used off season.
“We were paid after which we mopped up the food grains and later we were asked to supply the items to NEMA which we did.
“All the documentations of the grains supplied and delivered are available but we were contacted for the supply in 2017,” Hasheem said.
To this end, the Committee issued 72 hours ultimatum to the AGF to provide relevant information that would aid the Committee’s investigation.
KEHINDE AKINTOLA, Abuja