By Shola Oyeyipo in Abuja
Fact has emerged revealing that the presidency had queried the embattled Director General of the National Emergency Management Agency (NEMA), Mustpha Maihaja, over allegations of fraud and mismanagement of billions of naira
The query letter dated January 15, 2018, with reference number SH/OVP/DCOS/LG&R/NEMA/367 signed by the Deputy Chief of Staff to the President, office of the Vice President, Mr. Ade Ipaye, and addressed to Maihaja, had asked the NEMA boss to clarify some allegations raised against him by one Abba Kyari Modu Gana in a petition dated November 11, 2017.
Ipaye wrote: “I am directed by His Excellence, Prof. Yemi Osinbajo (SAN), Vice President of Federal Republic of Nigeria, to forward the attached ‘Reference A’ (being the petition) on the above stated subject matter with a request for your brief on the issues raised therein.”
The query and the report of the Independent Corrupt Practices and other related offense Commission (ICPC) on the matter were however allegedly not public because some powerful forces in the presidency purportedly covered it up to protect Maihaja.
The petition, copied the presidency, anti-graft agencies, leadership of the two chambers of the National Assembly and others, alleged fraudulent practices; fraud, embezzlement, diversion of public fund and illegal approvals of contracts against the NEMA DG.
Gana informed the presidency that before the advent of Maihaja as NEMA DG in April 2017, things ran smoothly, but not until he was named the DG of the agency, when he allegedly grounded the Mobile Ambulance Intensive Care Unit of the agency, the emergency response vehicles as well as the air ambulance and the helicopter, which cost the country about $100 million to put in place.
“Upon resumption, he (Maihaja) ground the Mobile Intensive Care Unit, emergency response vehicles, air ambulance and the helicopters which cost the federal government about $100 million tax payers’ money to acquire,” the petitioner alleged.
On the 2017 devastating floods that affected 16 states of the federation, the petitioner further alleged that upon the directive for the immediate release of N1.6 billion for the supply of relief support for victims, “these might interest you that no item was procured and delivered to the states affected by flood.
“The DG awarded a contract of N2.4 billion without following due process even though it’s strictly above his approval limit and that of the chairman governing council of the agency. Annexure II are copies of draft letters written to the Federal Executive Council (FEC) and the BPP seeking certificate of no objection after an award letter was issued to the supplying company. Even though they are just draft documents, the DG went ahead to pay the company the sum of N360, 000, 000 and another sum of N919, 000, 000 with just invoices.
“He has been involved in the illegal approval of contracts that are constitutionally, and according to the agency’s Act, exceeds his approval limit and that of the chairman of the governing council. The contract award letters signed by the acting Director of Department of Relief Services and Rehabilitation, a department that happens to be the consuming department of the items, annexure III is the approval threshold of the Director General; annexure IV is a copy of NEMA Act; annexure V are copies of the contract award letters, payment vouchers and others illegal documents used for payment.
“The NEMA Abuja operations office was located at Wuye District before his resumption in office, on the expiration of the rent, Maihaja said the amount paid N7 million for two years was on the high side so he relocated the office to his brother’s house at Wuse Zone 2, Mombolo Street at the cost of N16, 758, 000 for the same period of two years.
“He (Maihaja) travelled to the United Kingdom for training in Bournemouth with all his travel entitlements paid for two weeks but he only spent five days and bought an Ipad, and upon his return to the country, he pulled out the amount from the agency’s account, see annexure VI).
“He was scheduled to travel to Mexico for two weeks but he did not embark on the trip and he did not make refunds. He was scheduled for a trip to Canada for two weeks, he collected the travel entitlement and spent two days, see his international passport for further details.”