Alleged N40b Fraud: Group seeks dissolution of NDDC interim committee
• Demands inauguration of substantive Board
A civil society group has demanded the dissolution of the Interim Management Committee of the Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC).
Both chambers of the National Assembly last week took the decision to investigate alleged irregular expenditure to the tune of N40billion by the IMC. The Minister of Niger Delta Affairs, Godswill Akpabio has since dismissed the alleged fraud as unverifiable.
But a group, Transparency and Accountability Advancement Group on Sunday asked the Federal Government to revive the substantive board of the Niger Delta agency.
The board to be led by Dr Pius Odubu and Bernard Okumagba, chairman and Managing Director, respectively along with other nominees screened by the Senate since last October was put in abeyance by the Presidency which inaugurated an Interim Management Committee.
The government said it needed to carry out a forensic audit of the agency before inaugurating the Board. The Minister of Niger Delta, Godswill Akpabio expanded the IMC last February replacing its erstwhile Acting Managing Director, Barrister Joi Nunieh with Professor Kemebradikumo Daniel Pondei.
Addressing newsmen in Abuja, National President, Transparency and Accountability Advancement Group said the dissolution of the IMC would give the ad-hoc committees set up by both chambers of the National Assembly, access to documents to do a tidy job.
He said: “We invite the Senate and House of Representatives to diligently investigate the activities of the NDDC under the IMC, dispassionately interrogate all payments made without regards to whose ox is gored and unearth the looting of the patrimony of us Niger Deltans.
“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. “We are assured that though the IMC has tried to destroy records and evidence of its fraudulent dealings, the secondary records are still available at the Central Bank of Nigeria.
“The Senate and House Committees set up to investigate these frauds 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 illegal contraption still has a role to play in the repositioning of the NDDC as Akpabio has been insisting on.”
The group maintained that the operation of the IMC to manage the agency was an aberration in the eyes of the NDDC Act.
“In conclusion, we hail the decision of both houses of the National Assembly to investigate the IMC and Akpabio and call for the repatriation of all illegal withdrawals and payments that have been made from the NDDC under the IMC. We reiterate our position that the IMC be dissolved because it has no place in the NDDC Act. We call for the inauguration of a substantive Board for the NDDC because it is the proper thing to do. ”