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NDDC N40 billion scandal: Pondei speaks on resigning if found guilty

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The Acting Managing Director and Chief Executive Officer of the Niger Delta Development Commission, Prof. Kemebradikumo Daniel Pondei said he will resign from office if found guilty of embezzlement at the end of investigative hearing by the Senate panel.

The NDDC boss in reaction to series of financial allegation against him by the stakeholders who were at the hearing, on the last day of the investigative public hearing carried out by the Senate Ad-hoc committee, said there was no iota of truth on alleged N40 billion financial recklessness by the Interim Magement Committee (IMC).

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He was emphatic that the accusation that the IMC demands 20 – 30% kick backs from contractors was mischievous.

Earlier, the Chairman of NDDC Contractors Association, Joe Adia while in his presentation on behalf of NDDC Contractors alledged that the Pondei led IMC had in the last three months of their existence paid contractors who agrees to part 20 – 30% kick backs. adsbygoogle || []).push({});

He explained that the delay in contract payment has affected some members of his Association,.adding that some have been down with strokes, while others have died.

Meanwhile, the Minister of Niger Delta Affairs, Senator Godswill Akpabio has charged the National Assembly to check against abuses of the budgeting procedures of the Commission.

This is as the immediate past Managing Director of NDDC , Dr Joy Nunieh declared that out of the entire N81 billion spent by the Commission between October 29, 2019 to May 31, 2020, only N8 billion was spent by IMC under her leadership between October 29, 2019 to February 28, 2020.

In his submissions at the open hearing on Friday at the Senate wing of the National Assembly, Akpabio noted that instances abound where money budgeted had been drastically and illegally reduced by some members of the National Assembly against the originally approved fund.

According to him, the Niger Delta region can only get maximum benefit if we rejig the way we do budgets for the NDDC.

He pointed out that there has to be governance structure to regulate the way things are done at the Commission.

The Minister who insisted that the forensic audit of the NDDC was the best way of clearing the rot in the commission that had existed since its establishment, called on all stakeholders including the National Assembly to genuinely support the effort of President Muhammadu in ensuring that the money for the NDDC is used for the people of the Niger Delta.

“The reason why you hear so much hue and cry about the NDDC is because of President Buhari’s approval for a Forensic Audit”, he said .

He disclosed that in a particular instance, N10 billion was put in the budget, but some people just went into one hotel in Abuja and reduced it to N100 million but added that the figure failed to achieve any result.

The Minister shocked the audience at the public hearing, that close to a year of superintending the Niger Delta Affairs Ministry, that he had never awarded any contract since he assumed office except the contract for COVID-19 palliatives.

In his remarks, the chairman of the committee, Senator Olubunmi Adetunbi ( APC Ekiti North), declared that the essence of the investigation was to make sure the common wealth of Niger Delta works for the people of the Niger Delta.

According to him, the investigation is not about missing money but about ensuring that money gets into the right pocket to promote the best interests of the Niger Delta region and its people.

The committee also told Akpabio that at the end of the investigation, those who specialize hijacking Peoples money would be put out of business.

In her own submission , the former Managing Director of the Commission , Dr Yimebe Nunieh said out of the N81 billion spent by the Commission between October last year to May this year only N8 billion was expended by IMC under her leadership for the months period spent ( October 29, 2019 to February 18, 2020 .

She alleged at the sideline of the event while fielding questions from journalists that Akpabio engineered her removal from office for failing to dance to his tunes as regards writing implicating Chairman , Senate Committee on Niger Delta Affairs Peter Nwaoboshi on fraudulent contracts awards and executions.

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