- To investigate party primaries
Shola Oyeyipo in Abuja
Vice President Yemi Osinbajo has been indicted over alleged illegal approval of a mismanaged N5.8 billion North East Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs) intervention fund.
House Committee on Emergency and Disaster Preparedness chaired by Hon. Ali Isa, in its report yesterday noted that in contravention of constitutional provisions, Osinbajo approved the release of the sum of N5, 865, 671, 939.26 in June 2017 from the Consolidated Revenue Fund Account and the money was mismanaged by the National Emergency Management Agency (NEMA).
This is coming as the House has resolved to investigate the conduct of the last primary elections conducted by the various political parties.
The recommendations of the Investigative hearing on the violation of public trust in the National Emergency Management Agency (NEMA) were adopted by the House of Representatives after it was considered in the committee of the whole.
According to the House, the release of the fund for food security in the North-east contravenes Section 80(4) of the 1999 constitution as amended which states that: “No money shall be withdrawn from the Consolidated Revenue Fund or any other public fund of the federation, except in the manner prescribed by the National Assembly.”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 lawmakers also alleged that it breached the provision that the National Assembly must approve all issuance of Eurobond from which the Minister of Finance and the Accountant General of the Federation directed the Central Bank of Nigeria to pay.
The committee also called for the dismissal and prosecution of the Director-General of NEMA, Mr. Mustapha Maihaja, over allegations of fraud, corruption and embezzlement of N33 billion Emergency Intervention Fund, as well as all the government officials involvement in the approval, processing, release and diversion of the fund.
The lawmakers also frowned at the fact that the CBN, despite being a banker to the federal government, gave loans to private companies, adding that the apex bank itself should be investigated for the N2 billion loan said to have been given to four named companies.
The funds were paid as follows for supply of food items; Dangote Rice Ltd (N936, 196, 800); Golden Agric Input Ltd (N1, 384, 554, 236); BUA Rice Ltd (N1, 322, 273, 520); WACOT Ltd (N453, 674, 296); WACOT Ltd (N939, 946, 089) and NEMA (N829, 026, 456).
The legislators frowned at the fact that the authorisation granted for the withdrawal of the money from the Consolidated Revenue Fund Account was “highly flawed and had infractions on Section 80(2) of the Constitution and Section (2) of the Procurement Act, as well as provisions of the Appropriation Act, did not follow due process as taxes and interest accruable to the government were not deducted or remitted to FIRS and no meeting held by the Federal Executive Council to approve the contracts.
“The funds were credited directly to the individual banks of the companies and NEMA bank account, a violation of the approval limit allowed by law. Out of the N5.8 billion, NEMA got N829, 026, 456 for logistics and claimed it spent N369.5 million on general logistics, N189 million on branding and packaging, N248.6 million on branding and packaging and N21.9 million on contingency.”
Meanwhile, the lawmakers have also resolved to investigate the conduct of the last primary elections conducted across major political parties.
In his motion pursuant to Order 8, Rule 4 of the standing orders of the House, Hon. Abubakar Chika Adamu (Niger, APC) had noted that there was lack of internal democracy in the conduct of party primaries in his state, alleging failure to adhere to the provisions of both constitution of the party and the Electoral Act.
In a similar development, following a motion by Hon. Benjamin Wayo (Benue, APC), asking the House to compel the electoral umpire restore and conduct elections in two Benue State constituencies in Ushongo Local Government Areas,the Speaker of the House of Representatives, Hon. Yakubu Dogara, has setup a high power committee to interface with the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) as regards the delimitation/delineation of the federal constituencies.
Adamu, who opted out of the party primary in Niger State by not seeking a return ticket, had noted that in contravention of Section 87 (10) of the Electoral Act, which mandated parties to hold primaries, some party refused to conduct primaries and attributed that to why the party has been crisis ridden.