…As Reps drilled NEMA, for Awarding N3bn Rice Supply Contract To Olam Nigeria and Two Brothers
By Olayinka Ajayi
The National Emergency Management Agency (NEMA), has disclosed that it has so far spent 400 million naira on demurrage on rice donated to the internally displaced people in the North East in 2017 by the government of China.
This is just as the House of Representatives Committee on Emergency and Disaster Preparedness again queried the director general of the National Emergency Management Agency (NEMA), Engineer Mustapha Yunusa Maihaja, over the engagement of companies that were unqualified for contracts running into billions of naira.
The House also summoned the chairman of the governing council of NEMA, Vice President Yemi Osinbajo or his representative, the EFCC, DSS, ICPC, accountant general of the federation, Ministries of Agric, Budget and National Planning and other relevant agencies to appear in its next meeting to provide information on issues under probe by the House.
At the investigative hearing of the House on NEMA for violation of public trust on Thursday, the committee was informed that the 6,779 metric tonnes of Chinese rice which arrived in July, 2017 in 271 containers stayed uncleared in the ports for 6 months before NEMA could get documents to commence the clearing process on December 4.
The DG said though 161 million naira has been spent in addition to the 400 million naira on transportation, delivery and logistics, the agency could not confirm that the rice has been received and accepted by the IDPs.
He also added that out of the 271 containers, only 110 have so far been cleared and taken to the north east.
Similarly, the agency was drilled for awarding 3 billion naira worth of rice supply contract to Olam Nigeria Limited and Two Brothers, when they did not even have Tax Identification Number (TIN) and has not been paying PENCOM dues for their staff.
The director general, however, said the contracts were awarded during emergency period so the agency did not do due process on the companies.
But the lawmakers maintained that that was not an excuse for the breach of extant laws that guide procurement in Nigeria, and that it is curious that in spite of not meeting requirements, the agency was bent on awarding it to Olam and Three Brothers, when other competent companies could have been engaged.
The director, Relief and Rehabilitation, in NEMA, Mr Kayode Fagbemi, who signed the contract award letter, informed the committee the 3 billion worth of 10 thousand metric tonnes of rice contract awarded to Olam Nigeria Limited and Three Brothers, was done on the directive of the director general even though it did not comply with procurement process.
The director general of NEMA, also explained that though Pension Commission (PENCOM) and FIRS did not certify the companies to be qualified to do those contracts at the time the contracts were awarded, they provided the required documents before the certificate of due diligence was awarded by the Bureau of Public Procurement (BPP).
Meanwhile, the House committee has called for the recall of the six staff of National Emergency Management Agency (NEMA), saying the process of their suspension by the agency did not follow the Civil Service guidelines.
This is just as it summoned the governing council of NEMA, the EFCC, DSS, ICPC, PENCOM, FIRS, accountant general of the federation, Ministries of Agric, Budget and National Planning and other relevant agencies to appear in its next meeting to provide information on issues under investigation by the House.
Following the presentation of the Human Resource director of the agency, Mr Baba Inde, the members said it was apparent that due process was not followed as there was no compliance to Civil Service Rules as related to suspension of senior staff in the service.