Sunday, 15 April 2018

Osinbajo At War with House Over N2.5b Fraud

The Presidency is not taking kindly to a recent
invitation by the House of Representatives to
Vice President Yemi Osinbajo to appear before
an ad hoc committee.
The Ali Isa-led committee wants Osinbajo to
appear before it on why six directors of NEMA,
who were implicated in a N2.5billion fraud, were
suspended.
The Presidency, The Nation gathered last night,
considers the invitation an affront to its anti-
corruption campaign and a plot to frame up
Osinbajo ahead of the 2019 polls.
Sources hinted that Osinbajo may not appear
before the House Ad Hoc Committee.
The VP statutorily heads the Governing Board of
NEMA which, about a week ago, suspended six
directors of the agency following a report from
the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission
(EFCC).
The affected directors are the Director of Finance
and Accounts, Akinbola Hakeem Gbolahan; Ag.
Director, Special Duties, Mr. Umesi Emenike;
Director, Risk Reduction, Mallam Alhassan Nuhu;
Pilot in-charge Air Ambulance and Aviation Unit,
Mr. Mamman Ali Ibrahim; the Chief Maintenance
Officer, Mr. Ganiyu Yunusa Deji; and the Director
of Welfare, Mr. Kanar Mohammed.
An investigation by The Nation revealed that the
Presidency was shocked by the decision of the
committee to summon the Vice President over
the suspension of the directors.
It suspects that the move could be a
smokescreen to frame him up ahead of next
year’s polls.
“The Presidency felt slighted by the attitude of
the Ad Hoc committee to the Vice President
when it is obvious that the suspension of the
directors was based on an investigation
conducted by the EFCC,” a well placed source
said.
“It is more irritating to the government that the
suspended employees went to report their
employer (the Board of NEMA) to the Ad Hoc
Committee of the House.
“The Presidency sees the directors’ action as an
attempt to use the House to cover up their
tracks. This is a case of corruption fighting back.
“This is the same VP that has been in the
vanguard of smothering the fragile relationship
between the Executive and the Legislature.
“Ordinarily, the VP enjoys constitutional immunity
and if there was no more to the issue, the Ad
Hoc Committee should not have summoned
Osinbajo.”
The government source said the VP might not
appear before the Ad Hoc Committee because a
pre-determined agenda is being suspected by the
presidency.
“There is a strong suspicion that some forces are
hell bent to rubbish the Vice President ahead of
2019 polls,” the source said.
“The VP personally felt slighted from the security
reports available to him.”
The EFCC had submitted a March 1, 2018 report
on alleged fraud in NEMA to the Vice President.
According to the EFCC, the investigation
bordered on “alleged case of conspiracy, abuse
of office, misappropriation and diversion of public
funds reported to the office of the Vice-President,
Federal Republic of Nigeria against the former
Director General of the National Emergency
Management Agency (NEMA) and others
forwarded to the commission for discreet
investigation.”
Some of the alleged sharp practices uncovered
by the EFCC are:
Whereabouts of N166m out of N285m realized
from the commercialization of NEMA’s air
ambulance;Alleged short-change of Federal
Inland Revenue Service (FIRS) with N354, 900,
105. 24N238million NEMA cash placed in Fixed
Deposit by a directorInterest on Fixed Deposit
diverted single-handedly by a directorSome
directors have about 5 to 20 accountsNEMA
funds moved into personal accounts of
directorsFrivolous emoluments claims that were
wrongly processed by Directors and some
officials of the agency.About N66m out of
N280m meant for displaced traditional rulers in
the Northeast still unaccounted forCurious
deposit of suspicious funds into domiciliary
accounts of top directors
The report says in part: “From the investigation
carried out so far, officials could not account for
funds transferred from NEMA account to their
personal accounts.
“Moreover, the funds were being withdrawn in
cash and in some cases transferred to family
members. Also, it was discovered that some of
these funds were placed in fixed deposit; while
both the principal and interest were withdrawn in
cash by the depositor.
“Furthermore, the issue of companies
incorporated by the officials of NEMA who are
Public Servants is against the Public Service
Rules. This is more so as the companies are
active and still receiving funds in some cases
from NEMA.
“There were frivolous emoluments claims that
were wrongly processed by Directors and some
officials of the agency.
“Against this background, EFCC is of the opinion
that placing the officials involved under
suspension will assist the successful completion
of our investigation. “ This is the only way the
commission can have unfettered access to all
the necessary documents that will aid our
investigation. It is therefore recommended that
the Officials who are already indicted in the case
be placed on suspension pending the conclusion
of the investigation.
“”The aspect of fake IDP camps and relief
materials are still being investigated.
Investigation is still on-going and further
developments will be communicated.”
Source:The Nation

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