Accusation and counter accusation on alleged financial impropriety in the running of Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC) between the National Assembly and the Interim Management Committee (IMC) of the agency within the last three months Thursday took a new dimension with a group alleging that N80billion and not N40billion has so far been spent by officials of the agency within the last five months.
The Senate and House of Representatives through separate resolutions taken in April this year, set up an ad-hoc committee to investigate an alleged misappropriation of N40billion by the interim management team of the commission.
The action set the two public institutions against each other with allegations of witch hunting by the interim management team of the NDDC against the National Assembly and counter accusations of running away from the exercise as a result of alleged skeletons in the cupboard from the federal lawmakers.
An advocacy group named :The Act for Positive Transformation Initiative (ACT), has written a petition to the leadership of the National Assembly in persons of the Senate President , Ahmad Lawan and Speaker of the House of Representatives , Femi Gbajabiamila, for expeditious action on the planned probe exercise.
In the petition titled: “Save the Niger Delta Development Commission Now ” and dated 30th June 2020, the group alleged that verifiable available records at its disposal indicate that money squandered by interim management team of NDDC between January and May this year , is N80 billion as against N40billion the Senate passed resolution on in April this year .
ACT in the petition signed by the head, Directorate of Research, Strategy and Programmes , Kolawole Johnson , made breakdown of the allegedly squandered N80billion and consequently urged the National Assembly to stop NDDC under its present leadership from further financial transaction aside from monthly salary payments to workers .
The petition reads in part: “That the National Assembly directs the commission to stop all forms of procurements.
“That the National Assembly directs the commission and relevant agencies to stop all forms of payments from the commission’s account.
“That a proper account must be given for the over N80billion Naira squandered by the commission between January and May, 2020.
“That the commission should only be made to pay the salaries of workers.
“That the National Assembly directs the commission to stop payments of all forms of allowances as this has been grossly abused”.
Kolawole on behalf of the Advocacy group alleged further in the two page petition that the committee members of the NDDC pay themselves, monthly, several illegal allowances running into hundreds of millions which are also extended to some staff of the commission.
Example of such special payments made through alleged fraudulent imprest according to him, was paid to Mr. Charles Odili, a director in the commission, on the 30th of April, 2020 at about 12:56pm in the sum of N10 million as captured in his UBA private account .
Same Charles Odili, the group alleged, further raised memos for over 1.2billion naira payments for imaginary media work within four weeks.
They said: Members of the committee also use bank accounts of staff of the commission for such illegal payments.