Former Director-General (DG) of National Emergency Management Agency (NEMA), Alhaji Mohammed Sani Sidi, allegedly maintained about 20 different accounts in various banks, as a public servant.
This was part of the revelations at the ongoing public hearing by the House of Representatives committee on emergency and disaster preparedness.
The lawmakers have been investigating alleged violation of public trust in NEMA, following a motion by Hon. Benjamin Wayo in February 2018.
Barrister Edward Omaga, while making presentation on behalf of a civil society group, Centre for Social Justice, Equity and Transparency, on Tuesday, told the committee how the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) discovered suspicious deposit totalling $164,000 in the domiciliary account of the former DG NEMA.
Omaga also said the anti graft agency also found the sum of £58,000 in Sidi’s Pounds Sterling account at Standard Chartered Bank, all within a space of 18 months.
The international group also submitted that the Directors that were suspended by the current leadership of NEMA under Engr. Mustapha Maihaja, were grossly engraved with corrupt activities and that the EFCC had traced various of accounts to their names.
“The suspended Director of Finance and Accounts, Akingbola Hakeem Gbolahan also maintained many bank accounts with questionable transactions. His account with Guarantee Trust Bank contained suspicious deposits amounting to N27,650,000. Deposits over £37,000 and $120,000 were found in his domiciliary accounts, and much of these deposits flowed directly from NEMA.
“The acting Director of Special Duties, Mr. Umesi Emenike diverted funds meant for programs and maintenance of the South-South zone operations of NEMA under his supervision. The funds were paid directly into his accounts, 14 of them have been discovered by the EFCC in various banks, instead of the zonal office account. Mr Emenike was found to have withdrawn these funds freely in cash, by electronic transfers or through ATM machines”, the group alleged.
The group also told the lawmakers that, the Director of Risk Reduction of NEMA, Mr. Alhassan Nuhu, also maintained five bank accounts “which were apparently used as conduit to receive and distribute money from NEMA coffers. So far, Mr. Nuhu has not been able to give a satisfactory account of his transactions, including NEMA funds moving through him to a company called Dambo Farms Limited”.
The Pilot incharge of NEMA’s air ambulance, Mamman Ali Ibrahim was also indicted by the group, which accused him of commercializing both NEMA air ambulance and helicopter.
According to their submission, “the EFCC traced at least N285m to him, out of which only N63m was paid to the Accountant-General’s office and another N11m was paid to NEMA while the balance could not be accounted for”.
The revelation also touched the Director of Welfare, Kanar Mohammed, whose six bank accounts were allegedly found to be replete with NEMA funds, “including the sum of N214m meant for displaced traditional rulers in the North East but diverted, N 184m paid by him to one Crystal Chambers based in Abuja and N29.5m paid by him to a former Minister, Abdul Bulama”.
The group questioned the integrity of the House committee for instituting such an investigative hearing without inviting the former DG and the suspended Directors, whom they described as the “real culprits”.
In their prayers, the group called on the Speaker Yakubu Dogara to forthwith, suspend the investigation, saying if it must continue, then the former DG and suspended Directors must be part of the probe.
Responding, the acting Chairman of the committee, Hon. Ali Isa, said the ongoing public hearing was not targeted at anybody and that there was no vested interest by the National Assembly.
He said, the committee was specifically vested with the mandate to investigative the violation of public trust in NEMA for the last one year.
Isa, however, said if the present DG of NEMA mentions in his presentation, or any other person submits petition that the former DG should be invited, the committee would not hesitate to invoke section 89 of the constitution and invite him or any other person.
The hearing continues tomorrow, Wednesday 25th April.