- As Reps invite FIRS, EFCC, others over NEMA probe
BY AMOS DUNIA, ABUJA – The House of Representatives Committee on Emergency and Disaster Preparedness has queried the Director General of the National Emergency Management Agency (NEMA), Engineer Mustapha Yunusa Maihaja, over the award of contracts running into billions of Naira to unqualified companies.
This is just as the National Emergency Management Agency (NEMA), has disclosed that it spent N400 million as demurrage on rice donated to the Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs) in the North-east in 2017 by the Chinese government.
Accordingly, the House summoned the Chairman of the Governing Council of NEMA, Vice President Yemi Osinbajo or his representative, the EFCC, DSS, ICPC, Accountant General of the Federation, Ministries of Agric, Budget and National Planning and other relevant agencies to appear in its next meeting to provide information on issues under probe by the House.
At the investigative hearing of the House on NEMA for violation of public trust on Thursday, the committee was informed that the 6,779 metric tonnes of Chinese rice which arrived in July, 2017 in 271 containers were not cleared at the Ports for six months before NEMA could get documents to commence the clearing process on December 4, 2017.
The Director General of the agency, said though N161 million has been spent, in addition to the N400 million on transportation, delivery and logistics, NEMA cannot confirm if the rice has been received and accepted by the IDPs.
He also said that out of the 271 containers, only 110 have so far been cleared and taken to the North-east.
The agency was equally drilled for awarding N3 billion 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 NEMA DG, however, said the contracts were awarded during emergency period which did not allow his agency to carry out due process on the companies.
The lawmakers insisted that it was not an excuse for the breach of extant laws that guide procurement in Nigeria, adding 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.
In his brief, the NEMA director in-charge of Relief and Rehabilitation, Mr Kayode Fagbemi, who signed the contract award letter, informed the committee that the N3 billion worth of 10 thousand metric tonnes of rice contract awarded to Olam Nigeria Limited and Three Brothers, was carried out on the directive of the Director General, even though it did not comply with procurement process.
The NEMA DG however 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).
In the meantime, the House committee has called for the recall of the six staff of NEMA, saying the process of their suspension by the agency did not follow the Civil Service guidelines.
This is just as it summoned the Governing Council of NEMA, the EFCC, DSS, ICPC, PENCOM, FIRS, Accountant General of the federation, Ministries of Agriculture, Budget and National Planning and other relevant agencies to appear before it at its next meeting to provide information on issues under investigation by the House.
Following the presentation by the Director of Human Resource of NEMA, Mr Baba Inde, the lawmakers said it was obvious 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.