N5bn NEMA fraud scandal: Presidency queries Mustapha Maihaja on petition to ICPC

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The Office of Vice President Yemi Osinbajo and the Independent Corrupt Practices and Other Related Offences Commission (ICPC), have received petitions on monumental corrupt practices against the current Director General of National Emergency Management Agency (NEMA), Engr. Mustapha Maihaja.

The a public hearing of House of Representatives investigation on alleged breaches of public trust in NEMA was said to have revealed how Maihaja purportedly spent over N5 billion on companies that have no legal qualifications to get contract awards from the federal government.

The NEMA DG has been involved in scandals relating to arbitrary harassment and suspension of directors and massive redeployment of Account Staff, he was also alleged to be involved in corrupt within one year of his appointment in April 2017.

On receipt of the petition titled “Petition Against Engineer Mustafa Yunusa Maihaja, Director General NEMA” the Office of the Vice President directed Maihaja to respond to the query.

In a letter dated January 15, 2018 with Reference No SH/OVP/DCOS/LGR&C/NEMA/367, and signed by Ade Ipaye, Deputy Chief of Staff to the President, the NEMA boss was requested to send a brief on all the allegations against him in the petition.

Some of the allegations against the embattled NEMA DG in the petition read in part: “upon resumption of office in April 2017 Maihaja grounded the operations of Mobile Intensive Care Unit (MICU), Emergency Response Vehicles, Air Ambulance and the Helicopter that cost the Federal Government of Nigeria over $100 million tax payers money to put in place.”

The petition further alleged that during the 2017 floods, the Acting President approved and released N1.6 billion to provide succour to the 16 affected states, but no item was procured and delivered to the states concerned despite the emergency involved.

Similarly, the Petition further alleged that Maihaja awarded a contract of N2.4 billion without following due process and above his approval limit while assigning Director of Relief and Rehabilitation to be signing contract awards.

The Director General was also alleged to have swindled substantial amount of foreign currencies for official oversea trips without actually embarking on such trips or spending fewer days from the approved durations of the tours.

The petitioners further alleged that: “He travelled to the United Kingdom for a training with all his entitlements paid for two weeks but he only spent five days and bought an Apple Ipad and return to the country only to pull out the amount from the Agency’s account.”

The National Assembly through the House Committee on Emergency and Disaster Preparedness, was said to have discovered over N5 billion contract scandal under the management of current DG NEMA Maihaja; chided him for spending over N400 million Demurrage on donated Chinese Rice.

He was also accused of awarding contracts to fake companies that are not qualified for business engagements in Nigeria which included N1.6 billion Flood Victims Fund for 16 states and N3.1 billion Food Intervention for victims of Boko Haram in North-East.

The federal legislators were said to have directed Maihaja and the Governing Board of NEMA to immediately recall the suspended Directors of the agency who were unfairly and unjustly treated for challenging his draconian behaviourals and unethical intents.

The affected officers that were recalled are Director of Finance and Accounts, Akinbola Gbolahan; Ag. Director, Special Duties, Mr. Umesi Emenike; and Director, Risk Reduction, Mallam Alhassan Nuhu. Others are pilot in charge of Air Ambulance and Aviation Unit, Mr. Mamman Ali Ibrahim; the Chief Maintenance Officer, Mr. Ganiyu Yunusa Deji; and the Director of Welfare, Mr. Kanar Mohammed.

There are insinautions that while ICPC and other security agencies are investigating Maihaja on the petition, the NEMA boss is also using EFCC under the Office of Vice President to intimidate the staff, especially those that have spent over 10 years in the public service and union leaders.

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