Ndubuisi Orji, Abuja
The House of Representatives, yesterday, ordered a probe of allegations of misappropriation of N100billion by officials of the North East Development Commission (NEDC).
NEDC which was set up to ameliorate the sufferings of the people of the North East ravaged by terrorists attacks and other violent crimes is alleged to be enmeshed in serious corrupt practices by its management with complanits of no tangible proofs in infrastructural developments that matches the huge funds allocated to it by the Federal Government.
At yesterday’s plenary, the House mandated its committees on Finance and Procurement and of NEDC to undertake the probe of sleaze in the agency and report back in eight weeks for further legislative actions.
This followed the adoption of a motion sponsored by the Minority Leader, Ndudi Elumelu on the need to investigate “alleged sleaze and misappropriation of N100billion at the NEDC.”
Elumelu, in the motion, informed the House of allegations of abuse of procurement laws at the NEDC, which was established in 2017 to replace the Presidential Initiative on North East (PINE) and the Victims Support Fund (VSF).
He said the commission which was saddled with the responsibility of coordinating funds accruing from the federation account and donor agencies for the rehabilitation and resettling of victims of insurgency, reconstruction of homes, infrastructural development and tackling of illiteracy in the North East geopolitical zone, has ben immersed in financial corruption in recent months.
The lawmaker listed the corrupt practices to include the high handedness by the management, over inflation of contracts, awards of non-existent contracts, massive contract splitting and flagrant disregard for the procurement laws in the award of contracts, among others.
He said there was the need to investigate the allegation that N100 billion so far disbursed by the Federal Government to the NEDC has “vanished under a year” without any visible impact on the refugees nor any infrastructural development in the North East.
He said that there were allegations that the Minister of Humanitarian Affairs and Disaster Management, Sadiya Umar Farouk and the NEDC, Managing Director, Mohammed Goni Alkali, “withdrew the sum of N5 billion from the account of the commission to purchase military vehicles without any recourse to the board, an act which completely disregards the country’s procurement laws and must be seriously frowned at.”