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Sunday , 18 February 2018

EFCC UNCOVERS N2.5B FRAUD IN NEMA

• Top directors, officers own companies to secure relief materials contracts
• Four fake IDPs’ camps created to make money

The National Emergency Manage-ment Agency (NEMA) is currently enmeshed in a massive scandal after the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) uncovered an alleged N2.5billion fraud in the operations of the organisation.

The scandal was perpetrated through incorporation of fake companies, creation of fake IDPs’ camps and award of frivolous contracts.

The EFCC may invite a former Director-General of NEMA and some serving directors for interrogation on the fraud.

Some of the companies engaged by NEMA are alleged to have failed to remit N354,905,000 as accumulated taxes to the Federal Inland Revenue Service(FIRS).

Besides, the anti-graft agency is probing alleged diversion of foods and relief materials meant for the Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs) in the North-East to Chad and Niger Republic.

The Nation gathered that the EFCC launched the probe following intelligence that the ex-DG of NEMA and some directors “siphoned, misappropriated and diverted public funds to the tune of over N2.5billion.”

A source familiar with the investigation said: “Preliminary investigation indicated that fake companies were incorporated and fake way bills were used in securing contracts in NEMA.

“Funds were diverted under the guise of some purported training of some staff which was never conducted. Some of the directors involved had incorporated personal companies and secured contracts with the agency.

“Some of the companies engaged by NEMA have also failed to remit N354,905,000 as accumulated taxes  to the Federal Inland Revenue Service(FIRS). The unpaid taxes were from 2014 to date.

“There are cases of some directors, who are civil servants, owning about five to 10 companies in order to corner contracts in NEMA. There is an instance of a director with about 20 accounts in which fake contract sums were paid into.”

A well-placed source said: “As part of our investigation, we are looking into alleged diversion of foods and relief materials meant for the Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs) in the North-East to neighbouring countries, especially Chad and Niger Republic.

“We have discovered instances where trucks loaded with relief materials were diverted to these neighbouring countries for sale.

“There is also a case of inflated household for phantom purchase and delivery of relief materials. At a point, they even created three to four fake IDP communities where relief materials were diverted.

“Another dimension to the scandal in NEMA is alleged frivolous and overtime claims by some directors and workers of the agency.

“Some of the vouchers showed some staff, who are civil servants, demanding refund of N20million as claims they spent on behalf of NEMA. How did a civil servant incur N20million debt on behalf of his or her agency?”

Responding to a question, the source added: “The EFCC will soon invite a former Director-General of NEMA, some directors, staff, companies and contractors for questioning.

“Already, the detectives handling the case have retrieved relevant vouchers and documents relevant to the ongoing investigation.”

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