Revealed! NDDC spent N1.3trillion within four years, says Senate, …as Reps probe disappearance of N100bn disbursed to North-East Commission

Nigerian Senate ad hoc committee investigating the misappropriation of funds in the Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC) said the agency had spent N1.3 trillion within four years.

In the report read on Thursday by the Senate Committee Chairman, Senator Olubunmi Adetunmbi, the NDDC spent the N1.3 trillion between 2015 and May 31, 2019.

Adetunmbi said many of the expenses were extra-budgetary.

The investigation report revealed that the NDDC paid 4.9billion Naira to staffs for numerous allowances, which include COVID-19 relief, tour duty allowances, overseas travel, and international scholarships.   

The payment for overseas travel and scholarship was during the Coronavirus lockdown and surcease of flights abroad.

Adetunmbi added that the committee observed process errors and infractions, as well as substantial payments, were made to staff in the form of unjustifiable allowances.

He said the committee observed process errors and infractions, as well as substantial payments, were made to staff in the form of unjustifiable allowances.

The committee also observed that the Ministry of Niger delta is culpable of negligent supervision of the NDDC.

It further noted that the performance of the interim management committee IMC is a major issue as the record of the IMC has not shown any record of prudence and it should be dissolved.

The committee also raised an alarm over the forensic audit called for by President Buhari, stating that it is at a rudimentary level with the recruitment of the auditors still underway even after eight months.

In another development, the House of Representatives says it will probe the North-East Development Commission (NEDC) over alleged mismanagement of N100 billion.

The resolution of the House was sequel to a motion sponsored by Ndudi Elumelu, Minority Leader of the House, on Thursday.

NEDC was established in 2017 to reconstruct states affected by insurgency in the north-east.

While moving his motion, Elumelu said the N100 billion given to the commission by the federal government has “vanished” with nothing to show for it

The Delta lawmaker accused Mohammed Goni Alkali, NEDC Managing Director, of awarding non-existent contracts.

“The N100 billion so far disbursed to the commission by the federal government is said to have vanished under a year without any visible impact on the refugees nor any infrastructural development credited to the name of the commission in the whole of the North-east.

“The corrupt practices include high handedness by the managing director, Mohammed Goni Alkali, over inflation of contracts, awards of nonexistent contracts, massive contract splitting and flagrant disregard for the procurement laws in the award of contracts.

“There are allegations of how the minister of humanitarian affairs and disaster management, Sadiya Farouk, was said to have entered into an unholy deal with the managing director of the commission to illegally withdraw money for the purchase of military vehicles without any recourse to the board.

“The act, which completely disregards the country’s procurement laws, must be seriously frowned at,” he said.

The motion was adopted after it was put to a voice vote by Femi Gbajabiamila, Speaker of the House.

The motion was referred to the House Committees on Finance, Procurement and NEDC. The report on the probe is expected to be turned in after eight weeks.

The development is coming days after the House of Reps concluded its investigation on the alleged mismanagement of N81.5 billion by the Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC).

The report on the NDDC probe is however yet to be laid at the plenary of the lower legislative chamber.

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