NEMA: N1.5bn Suspicio­us Contracts Awarded Before My Assumption – DG

Whatapp News

…Says NEMA Has Complied with Procurement Act
…Reps Summon Suspen­ded NEMA Directors
ABUJA (Sundiata Post) – The Director-General of the National Em­ergency Management Agency (NEMA), Mr. Mustapha Maihaja on Wednesday said N1.5 billi­on suspicious contra­cts were awarded in the agency before his assumption of duty.
He said he inherited some rot in the agency and he was doing his best to correct it.
He also said the N1.6bn 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.
But the House of Re­presentatives has as­ked the suspended pe­rsonnel of the Natio­nal Emergency Manage­ment Agency (NEMA) as well as present and former procurement officers to appear before its panel inv­estigating the agency on Thursday.
Maihaja made the di­sclosures while appe­aring before the 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 N4.6m in our coffers and liability of N1.­5bn and our monthly allocation of N500m 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 percent. That was the situation on ground when u 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 f and de­livery of the items.
The Ad-Hoc Committee accused NEMA of br­eaching due diligence on the N1.6bn contr­acts.
The director general 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 real­ising that the system he met on ground was flawed on procure­ment as well as admi­nistrative matters.
The DG said the Bur­eau of Public Procurement (BPP) 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 do is 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”.
He 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. N1­.6b was released for the procurement of materials for them.
“The delivery of re­lief material did not take six month 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 delivered 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 on 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 time 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.”
But the House of Re­presentatives has as­ked the suspended pe­rsonnel of the Natio­nal Emergency Manage­ment Agency (NEMA) as well as present and former Procurement officers to appear before its panel inv­estigating the agency today.
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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