The House of Representatives on Thursday called for the recovery of total sum of N33 billion emergency intervention fund allegedly embezzled by Mustapha Maihaja, Director General of National Emergency Management Agency (NEMA).
The House after the consideration of the report of the Committee noted the flaws and infractions on the authorization granted and removal of such huge sum of money from the Consolidated Revenue Fund Account of the Federation in violation of section 80(2) of the Constitution, Section 16(2) of the Procurement Act and provisions of the Appropriation Act as approval of the Legislature was not sought nor obtained for such expenditure.
The lawmakers alleged that “due process was not followed as taxes and interest accruable to government were not deducted and remitted to the FIRS on the sums released and paid into the accounts of the different corporate entities shown above, this created colossal loss of revenue to the Federal Government.
“No meeting of the Federal Executive Council was held approving the contracts to the named companies and the release and crediting of the funds directly into the individual companies and NEMA bank account in blatant violation of approval limit allowed by law.”
According to the report, two companies received N2 billion each from CBN as loan to mop up grains across the countr, however “all the six States of the North East denied ever receiving this emergency intervention for food security in the North East for which about N5.8 billion was expended by the Federal Government.
“Out of about N5.8 billion, NEMA got N829,026,456 for logistics and it claimed it spent it as follows, without satisfactory evidence: General Logistic N369.5 million; Branding and packaging N189 million; Marketing, Security, tracking and media gulped N248.6 million while the sum of N21.9 million was spent on Contingency.
To this end, the House adopted the Commitee’s recommendation for the “dismissal, prosecution of NEMA Director General, Maihaja over fraud, corruption and embezzlement of N33 billion emergency intervention fund.
According to the report on the emergency intervention of food security to the North-East to support the population ravaged by insurgency, a sum of N5,865,671,939.26 was approved and released in June 2017 vide a memo raised from the Office of the Acting President, directing the Hon. Minister of Finance and the Accountant General of the Federation to so act.
The details further specified a directive to the Governor of CBN from the Ministry of Finance to pay the sum from the Consolidated Revenue Fund Account which the AGF is to raise a mandate for. This is in contravention of approval of National Assembly on the issuance of Euro Bond from which the Hon. Minister authorized the payment.
“The Euro Bond is for specified infrastructural projects and not for discretionary intervention. Furthermore, there is no specific appropriation by the National Assembly.
This contravenes Section 80 (4) of the 1999 constitution as amended: which states: ‘No money shall be withdrawn from the Consolidated Revenue Fund or any other public fund of the Federation, except in the manner prescribed by the National Assembly’, the report stated.
The Isa-led Committee further argued that: “it has been established that the Federal Government of Nigeria lost a total sum of over N33 Billion Naira as a result of mismanagement or outright embezzlement of funds occasioned by the actions or inactions of the Managing Director of NEMA, Engr. Mustapha Yunusa Maihaja . It is hereby consequently recommended that the Director General of NEMA, Engr. Mustapha Yunusa Maihaja, be relieved of his duties by Mr President, Commander in Chief, Federal Republic of Nigeria and handed over to relevant authorities for prosecution.”
On the issue of donation of 6,779 metric tons of rice by Chinese Government for IDP’s in the North East, the House condemned in strong terms the negligence and inefficiency of the Ministry of Budget and National Planning and NEMA for the long delay in collection of the donated rice from the Port Terminal.
The House also asked NEMA and the Federal Ministry of Agriculture, Ministry of Budget and National Planning to “account for the 6,779 Metric tons of Rice donated to Nigeria Government for the benefit of IDP’s in the 6 States of the North East by the Chinese Government but was never received by the beneficiaries. The ICPC, EFCC and Nigeria Police Force (Police) should conduct further investigation and prosecute where necessary.”
The anti-graft agencies and Police were also urged to ensure “recovery of the payment of about N800 million demurrage from the concerned officers of the Ministry of Budget and National Planning, Ministry of Agriculture and NEMA. They should further investigate the conflicting testimonies of the above agencies and determine whether there was multiple payment transaction for the demurrage.”
KEHINDE AKINTOLA, Abuja