The Association of Rice Processors of Nigeria has disassociated itself from allegations of fraud levelled against OLAM Nigeria Limited, a Nigerian based rice processing company, by federal lawmakers.
The House of Representatives Committee on Disaster and Emergency Preparedness is investigating an allegation of violation of public trust by the National Emergency Management Agency (NEMA).
Speaking with PREMIUM TIMES on the telephone, chairman of the association, Abubakar Maitafa, rejected OLAM’s claim that it got a contract of about N2.4 billion ”fter a meeting of the rice processors.
“We are not in any way involved in the issue of this contract, we did not participate and we are not aware. If he (OLAM) wants to defend himself on this issue, he shouldn’t involve our name in it,” Mr Maitafa said.
He added that his association was not aware of any contract ”until when the House of Representatives launched an investigation.”
When contacted to comment on the disclaimer, OLAM’s Vice President, Reggie George, reaffirmed his statement at the public hearing.
“I stand 100 per cent by what I earlier said”
He accused some members of the association of being jealous of the contract his firm got with NEMA.
Mr. George, had last week during the public hearing at the National Assembly said his firm did not bid for the N2.4 billion contract it got ”but was informed by the Ministry of Agriculture to send an invoice to the Ministry of Finance, after a Rice Processors of Nigeria meeting.”
He also added that there was no advertisement or bidding process that the company responded to or participated in.
The panel is investigating the release of N5.9 billion food intervention in the North-east, N3.1 billion food intervention in the same region, release of N1.6 billion for Libyan returnees, release of N1.6 billion flood intervention for 16 states and donation of 6,779 metric tonnes of rice by the Chinese government.
Various persons and groups have appeared and testified before the committee in the past one month.
The investigation is yet to be concluded.