Niger Delta Group, Transparency and Accountability Advancement Group, has commended the National Assembly for its decision to probe the alleged N40 billion expenditure by the Interim Management Committee (IMC) of the Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC).
In a statement signed by Comrade Godknows Sotonye, National President, the group stated: “We invite the Senate and House of Representatives to diligently investigate the activities of the NDDC under the IMC, interrogate all payments made without regards to whose ox is gored and unearth the alleged looting of the patrimony of us, Niger Deltans.”
The group said, “while we trust that these committees of the National Assembly, as representatives of the people, will uphold due process and ensure that the investigation is thorough, above board and transparent, we want to assure them that documentary evidence of these shady contracts and payments are available at the relevant government institutions”.
According to Comrade Sotonye, “the Senate and House committees set up to investigate these alleged fraud should request the CBN and the office of the Auditor General of the Federation (OAGF) to provide the TSA bank details of the NDDC since the IMC was set up. The TSA schedule of payments is the authentic and unadulterated truth of who has been paid what, when and for what. Beyond that, we invite both committees to forensically examine the work of the IMC and determine if this alleged illegal contraption still has a role to play in the repositioning of the NDDC.”
The Senate, earlier in the week set up a six-man ad-hoc committee to carry out a holistic investigation into all issues relating to but not limited to the alleged misapplication and misappropriation of the sum of N40billion by the commission.
The committee, which has four weeks to report back to the Senate, will also look into all procurements and financial transaction of the commission in this fiscal year (2020) and any other matter that is not in accordance with the provision of the NDDC Establishment Act, 2000 or any other extant law.
The Ad-hoc Committee has Senator Olubunmi Adetunmbi (APC, Ekiti North) as Chairman. It also mandated the Peter Nwaoboshi (PDP, Delta North) l Senate Committee on Niger Delta Affairs to investigate allegation of arbitrary sack of the management staff of the commission and report back at plenary in four weeks.
The Niger Delta group listed some of the points, which it wants the Senate and House of Representatives Committees to address in their investigations. They include, “why the contracts made under the IMC in billions of naira were allegedly awarded in clear breach of Sections 19, 25, 41 and 42 of the Public Procurement Act, 2007. They should look into the allegations that a few contractors have been paid, while legitimate contractors have been denied payment for jobs completed. The lawmakers should also probe the nepotism introduced into staffing at the NDDC, especially at critical decision-making levels.”
The called for the repatriation of all illegal withdrawals and payments that have been made from the NDDC under the IMC, saying: “We reiterate our position that the IMC be dissolved. We call for the inauguration of a substantive board for the NDDC because it is the proper thing to do.”