By; IYOKPO J. EGBODO, Abuja
The National Hajj Commission of Nigeria (NAHCON) on Wednes
day said the Hajj services providing company which petitioned it before the House of Representatives, did so because it had no knowledge of the workings of the Commission.
The Nigeria Arewa Foundation through its counsel, Ibrahim Yusuf had in petition to the House of Representatives Committee on Public Petitions, accused Chairman of NAHCON, Abdulahi Mukhtar Mohammed of fraud and corrupt practices during the 2016 Hajj.
The company in the petition alleged that NAHCON illegally deducted from the fees of service providers between 50 and 70 Saudi Arabian Riyal as service charges, increased the share capital status of companies in order to shut some out, and that the Commission planned to increase transport fares of pilgrims among others allegations.
It its request for action of the House, the petitioner prayed that the NAHCON’s chairman should be “reprimanded” over corrupt practices, and be compelled to refund all illegal charges allegedly collected from service providers, as well as that the Chairman be suspended for a proper investigation into the alleged malpractices.
Mohammed however told the Hon. Uzoma Nkem-Abonta-led panel committee that the Act establishing NAHCON in sections 11 and 12 which gave it power to collect service charges, and that it didn’t go outside the law.
He the charges were not introduced by him, but had been in place since 2007. “It is a yearly practice that we prepare our budget for income and expenditure, and this we do for the approval of Mr President. So this is a total misrepresentation and ignorance of the whole process”, Mohammed said.
He also informed the committee that certain reforms he introduced in the payment system had revealed that the agents were taking undue advantage of states in accommodation charges during Hajj. “Since the introduction of electronic payment directly to property owners, accommodation cost crashed”, he said, adding that about N1.3 billion was saved in 2016 over same.
The Harding has been adjourned for a later date