Reps summon NDDC, Akpabio as ex MD appears before committee

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The House of Representatives committee on Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC) has summoned the Minister of Niger Delta Affairs, Godswill Akpabio, and the Acting Managing Director of the agency, Daniel Pondei.

The lawmakers took the decision on Friday at the continuation of their investigation into alleged financial recklessness in the commission.

The summoned persons, according to the committee, are to appear unfailingly on Monday.

The committee directed that the summon be served through the media or any other substituted means.

Mr Pondei had on Thursday led a walk out on the committee.

Mr Pondei, who appeared with other management staff of the commission, accused the chairman of the house committee on NDDC, Olubunmi Tunji-Ojo, of corruption. He said because of that, his team will not speak before the committee.

In May, a group accused Mr Tunji-Ojo of benefiting from the award of contracts in the commission.

The lawmaker, who represents Akoko North East/ West Federal Constituency of Ondo state, described the allegations as shameful and baseless.

On Friday, the embattled former acting managing director of the agency, Joi Nunieh, also appeared before the committee.

She appeared and gave her submission to the committee via a teleconference platform, zoom.

She was supposed to appear before the committee on Thursday but was stopped from attending the hearing by police officers who laid a siege to her Port Harcourt residence.

Ms Nunieh had accused Mr Akpabio of corruption in the management of the NDDC, an allegation the minister has denied

I ONLY SPENT N8 BILLION

On Friday, Ms Nunieh told the committee that only N8 billion of the said N81.5 billion spent between October 2019 and May 2020 was spent under her watch.

She said that she was under pressure by Mr Akpabio to abuse processes and engage in financial recklessness.

She said that she prepared documents for the forensic audit mandated by President Muhammadu Buhari before she was forced out of office.

She said the appointment of the lead consultant procured to carry out the forensic audit did not follow due process as it breached constitutional requirements.

She also said that no reputable auditing firm in Nigeria is among the nine sub-auditing firms already engaged to carry out the job.

She explained that none of the firms had carried out any forensic audit in the last four years as mandated by the constitution.

She recommended that President Buhari and the National Assembly should ensure that the procurement of forensic auditors should follow due process as doing otherwise could bring the process to disrepute.

She said that the forensic auditors should look into staff recruitment process and qualifications because professionals and experts in the commission are insufficient.

She urged the Inspector General of Police to investigate and arrest Mr Akpabio for forcing her to take oath of secrecy.

In his statement, Mr Tunji-Ojo said the committee had not indicted anybody and that all accused persons should appear for fair hearing.

He said that the committee is not out to witch-hunt but to bring out the facts and reposition the NDDC for better service delivery.

 

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