A pan-Niger Delta group, Transparency and Accountability Advancement Group, has faulted the claim of the Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC) that the non-payment of fees of students on the commission’s scholarship abroad was because of the absence of executive director, finance & administration (EDFA).
NDDC Director of Corporate Affairs, Mr. Charles Odili, had said the commission could not make payments from its domiciliary account without an executive director, finance & administration, as explanation for non’remittance of money abroad to students on scholarship.
Faulting this position, Transparencyand Accountability Advancement Group, in a statement by Damian Nwikinaka,
director of information and strategy, said this was the greatest lie and deceit of the century.
The group said the NDDC financial regulations have made adequate provisions to meet its financial obligations, “even in the absence of its Executive Management.”
It said the domiciliary account of NDDC is domiciled with the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), with the Managing Director/CEO as the approving authority for any payment or transfer from the account.
“There are four other signatories to the account. These are the EDFA in Category ‘A’, with the Director of Finance as Alternate; and the Executive Director, Projects in Category ‘B’, with the Director, Project Monitoring & Supervision (DPMS) as alternate. Any of the ‘A’ and ‘B’ signatories can sign for payments to be made from the domiciliary account with the approval of the Managing Director/Chief Executive Officer. No transfer or payment can be made without the approval of the Managing Director/CEO, and not the EDFA,” the group said.
Explaining further, Transparencyand Accountability Advancement Group said “the provision of the signatory categories, in the absence of the EDFA, as has been the case since May, the Director of Finance steps in as signatory. Both the Director of Finance and the Director of Project Monitoring and Supervision are staff (bureaucrats) in the NDDC and they are available to make such payments. In fact, the NDDC has been making payments since the Acting EDFA died in May.”
It said the NDDC being run by the Interim Management Committee Committee (IMC) has been transferring funds from the domiciliary account to Naira account with the CBN for the payments they have been making since May, 2020, when the late Acting EDFA passed on.
“The NDDC does not need a fresh Acting EDFA to make payments for scholarship programme or any other payments from the domiciliary account of the NDDC with the CBN. The question to ask (Senator Godswill) Akpabio and the IMC is if the NDDC does not have alternate signatories?” it queried.
The group said the CBN and the Office of Accountant of the Federation (OAGF) are aware that payments can be made by the Managing Director and other officers from the NDDC domiciliary account without an EDFA, insisting: “Therefore, nobody should believe the cheap falsehood being bandied about by Akpabio and the IMC. It is another strategy or antics to deceive people and the President to allow them to bring in a new EDFA into the IMC at a time that all Nigerians are calling for the IMC to be disbanded for a proper Governing Board to come in to administer the NDDC.”
Calling on President Buhari and the Federal Executive Council to be circumspect and not allow themselves to be used.
“We stand by the Senate resolutions based on the report of its adhoc committee, which investigated and discovered large-scale fraud and financial recklessness against the IMC, that the IMC be disbanded,” the group said.