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Wednesday, 11 April 2018

N1.5b Suspicious Contracts Awarded In NEMA Before My Assumption – DG

N1.5b Suspicious Contracts Awarded In NEMA Before My Assumption – DG

Maihaja made the disclosures while appearing before the Hon. Ali Isa-led ad hoc investigative panel of the House of Representatives on the activities of NEMA

The Director General of the National Emergency Management Agency, Engr. Mustapha Maihaja, on Wednesday said N1.5 billion suspicious contracts were awarded in the agency before his assumption of duty. This led to the suspension of six Directors on the Board of the agency.

Owing to this, the House of Representatives has asked the suspended personnel as well as present and former Procurement Officers to appear before its panel investigating the agency on Thursday. Maihaja said he inherited some rot in the agency and he was doing his best to correct it.

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He said the N1.6 billion contracts for the supply of materials to flood victims in 16 states in the last one year were in compliance with the Public Procurement Act. Maihaja made the disclosures while appearing before the Hon. Ali Isa-led ad hoc investigative panel of the House of Representatives on the activities of NEMA.

He said: “When I came on board in late April 2017, I met N4.6 million in our coffers and liability of N1.5 billion and our monthly allocation of N500 million cannot go a long way in procuring these materials. “This was also the time when the international agencies announced the scaling down of their funding by 80 per cent.

“That was the situation on ground when I came on board. “Before I came, contracts were paid for without proper documentation and that is why N1.5 billion is unpaid till date because there was no certificate to prove that.

“A memo was just submitted that due diligence process be instituted and that is what we are doing “We now have Maintenance and Operation Unit and make sure we implement as approved.

“There was no Human Resources, no Verification Unit and this applied to everything across board.
“All we are doing is to put things in place.”

On the N1.6 billion contracts for the supply of relief materials to 16 states affected by flood, Maihaja insisted that the agency did not breach procurement laws in the award of the contracts and delivery of the items. The Ad-Hoc Committee accused NEMA of breaching due diligence on the N1.6b contracts.

The DG was also accused of commencing distribution of relief materials six months after release of funds, while also engaging companies that have tax issues.

But Maihaja said due diligence was strictly followed by the agency under his management after realizing that the system he met on ground was flawed on procurement as well as administrative matters.

The DG said the Bureau of Public Procurement did not find fault with its procurement procedure after which Certificates of No Objection were released.

Concerning the allegation that some companies were not eligible for contract for failing to meet due requirement on tax and pension clearance as provided by the Procurement Act, the DG said no law was breached because steps were taken to adhere to the Procurement Act.

He said: “We adhered to the Procurement Act.“To the best of my knowledge, we complied.“We did not violate the Act.“By virtue of the relevant provisions of the Procurement Act, we have not breached any rule.

“What we did was we looked at the Act and we took our time to follow it. “While this was going on, we wrote to the BPP and they replied and they never faulted our process.

“The BPP did not say we have done any wrong but that we should submit the list of missing items identified and kept on updating.
“We have done that and submitted to them.”

Maihaja said the agency did not commence distribution of relief materials to 16 states affected by flood in 2017 because the financial and administrative conditions of the agency were not encouraging as at April 2017 when he assured duty. He said: “The floods started from about March through October in 27 states and funds were released in September.

“We have documentary evidence to support this. “The agency was approached in July to give a list of the affected states and 26 were identified. “N1.6 billion was released for the procurement of materials for them.

“The delivery of relief material did not take six months after release of funds as being alleged. “I will never intentionally tell the House a lie.

“On this question, documents were asked for by the Committee and the answers to all the questions were contained in the documents we provided.“Because of the situation at hand, we were able to deliver materials to nine states within five days, but I can’t remember the specific dates.

“I plead that opportunity is given to us to present records of delivery because some states don’t acknowledge receipt of supplies on the actual day of delivery but much later. “For instance, Edo State has not acknowledged receipt of materials till now.

“So the date of acknowledgement doesn’t signify the actual date of delivery sometimes. “There are delays at times on deliveries, but we don’t take six months to begin intervention.

“We did not start delivery after six months.

“We started much earlier in some, while some started late due to procurement and delivery issues, which may be responsible for the delay, but we delivered majority in good time.”

On the staff asked to report before the House Committee, Maihaja said: “We will ensure that the affected officers appear before this committee.”
The hearing continues on Thursday with the appearance of the suspended personnel.

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