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Mustapha Maihaja N3.1bn Relief Materials: NEMA followed due process

Maihaja made this known on Wednesday in Abuja, at the public hearing on “Violation of Trust in NEMA” organized by House of Representatives Committee on Emergency and Disaster Preparedness.

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Mustapha-Maihaja, Director General of NEMA. play

Mustapha-Maihaja, Director General of NEMA.

(NTA)

Director-General, National Emergency Management Agency (NEMA), Mr Mustapha Maihaja, said due process was followed in the procurement of N3.1billion relief materials for emergency purposes in the North-East.

Maihaja made this known on Wednesday in Abuja, at the public hearing on “Violation of Trust in NEMA” organized by House of Representatives Committee on Emergency and Disaster Preparedness.

The committee had confronted the agency with due process infractions in the award of N3.1billion contract for the procurement of 10,000 metric tons of rice for the North-East between 2017 and 2018.

The committee also queried the agency for making another officer other than a Procurement Officer, to sign contract award letters.

Maihaja explained that the agency was forced to approach the Presidency for the procurement of materials because development partners withdrew 85 per cent of their funding support.

He tendered a copy of the approval letter from the Presidency and said that the agency could not award a procurement contract whose amount exceeded N300 million.

He said: “We insist that due process be followed on procurement since my assumption of duties in April, 2017 because different methods were used before then, with serious resistance from within and outside.

“Today, NEMA is one of the most investigated agencies but due process was followed in our procurements.

“On the 10,000 metric tons of rice, we complied with the Procurement Act; the agency sought Presidential approval for the procurement 10,000 metric tons of rice at 3.1 billion for emergency purposes in the North-East.

“The approval was signed by the Vice President in a letter by the Deputy Chief of Staff.

“The contract was awarded to two companies as well as logistics companies for delivery.

“The contractors don’t get paid until deliveries are confirmed by the recipient agencies.

“Also, the deliveries are taken directly to our warehouses across the country and confirmed by our store officers before payments are made.

Maihaja said that the Director (Relief) in the agency signed the contract award letters because at the time, there was no Procurement officer.

According to him, there was no Procurement Unit in the agency at the time of my assumption of duty. Junior Planning officers were performing the duties.

“Junior Planning officers cannot sign the contract award and being an emergency situation, in all sincerity, the Director (Relief) was asked to sign the documents.

“We also have a comprehensive store system as well as other mechanisms for confirmation of delivery of relief materials.

“My action was done with utmost sincerity; there was no intention to sidetrack anyone in this responsibility.

“We have a store system and other units to take charge of materials; the Director (Relief) is not in charge of stores,” he said.

The director-general also told the committee that the sources of the agency’s funding included Ecological Fund which was N10.3 billion in the period under review as well as Appropriation Act.

He also made available to the committee the agency’s bank accounts, list of companies awarded contracts and list of donors and donations.

Opening the hearing earlier, the Speaker, House of Representatives, Mr Yakubu Dogara, had said that there were a number of disasters unattended to in the country over the period, and described it as “a shame”.

He said that the House’s intervention followed allegations of negligence of victims who complained of late arrival and often inadequate arrival of relief materials.

Deputy Chairman of committee, Rep. Ali Isa, had also said that the investigation was not to witch-hunt anyone but to make NEMA better in meeting its objectives.

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