The Senate and House of Representatives yesterday decided to investigate how the Interim Management Committee (IMC) of the Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC) allegedly wasted N40 billion in three months.
The Senate established an ad hoc committee, chaired by Senator Olubunmi Adetunbi (APC, Ekiti North), to investigate financial transactions conducted by the IMC Representative Committee during this period and submit a report within four weeks.
Earlier, Senator Thompson George Sekibo (PDP, Rivers East) proposed a bill entitled: “There is an urgent need to investigate the alleged financial ruck behavior of the Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC)”.
Sekibo said that although President Muhammadu Buhari established an IMC to oversee the forensic audit of financial transactions conducted by the now-disbanded board of directors of the committee, the report shows that the committee may have questions to answer. He also said that the committee was addicted to allegations that the committee’s managers were arbitrarily dismissed.
He said: “Although President Buhari ’s actions to establish the IMC and forensic audits may be considered to prevent the committee ’s financial ruin and reposition the committee to rapidly develop the area, the IMC is more constrained by it. The same financial abuse, misuse, misappropriation or complete fraud occurred in management.
“In the past three months, the committee has spent more than 40 billion naira on the committee’s funds without resorting to the established fund disbursement procedures, which has caused further suspicion among stakeholders in the Niger Delta.
“As a result, IMC has lost credibility and is seen as a financial channel for stakeholder views in the region. Therefore, this urgently requires the intervention of the Senate of the Federal Republic of Nigeria to build confidence in the people who originally established the committee.
He insisted that “the Constitution (Article 88) (revised) has given the National Assembly” the power to “determine” whether 40 billion naira has been spent “wisely and appropriately” (the treasury allocated to the committee).
In the general debate, Senators Bara Ibena Alla (APC, Kebbi South) and Ajibola Basiru (APC, Osun Central) filed different constitutional claims to stop the motion , On the grounds that the motion was based solely on charges.
However, the President of the Senate, Ahmad Lawan, agreed, and emphasized that the authenticity of the allegations will be determined during the investigation.
The members of the Ad Hoc Committee are Senator Jika Dauda Haliru (APC, Bauchi Central); Mohammed Tanko Almakura (APC, South Sarasava South); Abdulfatai Buhari (APC, North Austria) Approx.); Chukwuka Utazi (PDP, Enugu North); Ibrahim Hadia (Ibrahim Hadia (APC, Northeast Jeju)) and Degi-Eremienyo Biobarakuma Wangaha (APC, Bayelsa East).
Similarly, the House of Representatives yesterday passed a bill proposed by deputy leader Peter Akpatason and ordered its NDDC committee to investigate its misuse and misappropriation of funds.
The committee will investigate all procurement and financial transactions during the fiscal year to ensure compliance with the law. It will also find out whether the committee has followed the prescribed procedures for layoffs and key management personnel.
The legislator therefore summoned the IMC led by Niger Delta Affairs Minister Godswill Akpabio and Professor Kembradikumo Pondei.
Akpatason said in the motion that the NDDC House Committee has received several petitions from contractors, stakeholders and public interest groups concerning alleged layoffs and replacement of them with unqualified and inexperienced persons.
Akpatason (Edo, APC) claimed that the NDDC spent more than 40 billion guilders without affecting the region. Allegedly, 70% of it was used for emergency projects and the completion of the headquarters of the Committee, without due consideration to the fiscal governance provided for in the Financial Responsibility Act 2007 and other current financial regulations.
He further claimed that after the COVID-19 pandemic, the contract was allegedly awarded to supply Hilux vehicles and medical consumables worth 4.8 billion guilders, which clearly violated Sections 19, 25, 41, and 42 of Public Procurement Act, 2007.