Ten years after giving an Israeli company a N1,054,222,576.00 deposit, the National Emergency Management Agency (NEMA) has not yet accepted delivery of an aircraft, according to the Auditor General for the Federation (OAuGF).
An audit report that was delivered to the National Assembly on November 30, 2023, states that although the payment was made in 2010, no aircraft had been delivered as of March 2020.
According to the report, the contractor did not return the deposit either.
According to The Nation, NEMA said that it had won a judgement in a debt-recovery case involving the issue.
NEMA was charged in the audit report with poor management and letting relief supplies deteriorate.
The NEMA management is accused of neglecting to withhold and deduct approximately N19.2 million in value-added tax (VAT) and withholding Taxes (WHT) from payments made on supplies of relief materials and other services rendered to the agency.
It states that this is the case even though the contractors’ invoices should have included the WHT and VAT deductions.
Additionally, it claims that NEMA did not account for approximately N99.42 million of the N560,235,145.50 non-personal advances that were given to officers in 2018.
Not retired was an additional N47,974,375.87 from N715,316,976.10 awarded to officers as non-personal advances in 2019.
Of the 135,000 bags of rice donated by the Chinese government as intervention support for internally displaced people (IDPs) in the Northeast, the audit report claims that NEMA failed to distribute 26,106 50 kg bags of rice.
It claims that the agency’s warehouse held 26,106 bags of rice, valued at N673.076 million, that were allowed to expire.
According to the report, NEMA granted a contract for the provision of 160,000 59-kg bags of rice at the cost of N2.4 billion in 2018, yet some bags of 25kg rice valued at N73,709,041.20 were left in the warehouse to expire as of April 2020.
“These bags of rice were destroyed by pests and rodents as a result of the failure of the agency to distribute them to the intended beneficiaries (the IDPs),” the report says.
The OAuGF also reports that NEMA also failed to distribute relief materials valued at N113.676 million which were left to either expire or were damaged.
It says other items, such as toiletries, mosquito nets, and bags of cement, among others, procured for more than three years before the audit in 2020, were allowed to rot away.
The OAuGF also reports that N96,467,673.76 was paid to a consultant between 2014 and 2017 to acquire some assets for the construction of the NEMA zonal offices in Enugu, Lagos and Kaduna.
Items covered by the contract include three project vehicles valued at N30 million, two demountable partitions for the Enugu and Lagos project sites, one Diperk 250 KVA Generator for the Enugu Project site, one Diperk 200 KVA Generator for the Lagos Project site and one Diperk 250 KVA Generator for Kaduna Project site.
“There was no evidence that the items were procured nor were there records to show that they were handed over to the agency since the termination of the contract in October 2019.
“On enquiry, the zonal coordinators in the three states claimed not to be aware of the above-listed assets as they never saw them on site,” the report says.
The report attributed anomalies to weaknesses in NEMA’s internal control system.
It recommends that the money involved be recovered and refunded to the government treasury.
The OAuGF says appropriate sanctions should be imposed on the agency in line with extant laws and financial regulations.
NEMA Information Officer, Manzo Ezekiel, said the process of recovering the aircraft payment was ongoing.
He said: “As the DG NEMA has responded. There is a valid court judgment on recovery of the money paid.
“It involves non-Nigerians and may require the support of both Nigerian and the other governments to recover the fund.
“The process to recover the fund is still ongoing.
“The second issue of relief items being left to rot. I am sure it is about the rice donated by the Chinese Government. It was under a former DG of the agency.
“There were some circumstances that led to delay in clearing the items from the port.
“After the clearance, some of the rice was discovered to have become bad.
“However, those that still good were distributed to the target beneficiaries.”