The Act for Positive Transformation Initiative, a Civil Society Organisation (CSO) has called on the National Assembly to immediately stop the Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC) from all forms of procurement.
It also asked the Parliament to ensure that a proper account is given for the over N80 billion Naira squandered by the Commission between January and May, 2020.
In a letter addressed to the leadership of both Chambers of the National Assembly, Head Directorate of Research, Strategy and Programmes of the CSO’s, Johnson Kolawole alleged that the Interim Management Committee (IMC) of NDDC was abusing all relevant laws.
This is just as the 2019 budget of the NDDC expired on May 31, 2020 and, the Commission is yet to submit the 2019 budget performance to enable the legislative commence work on the 2020 budget submitted to the National Assembly.
Kolawole in the letter titled: ‘Save the NDDC Now,’ said NDDC IMC was paying ridiculous allowances to themselves and other members of staff running into hundreds of millions.
“The National Assembly should direct the commission to stop all forms of procurement and all forms of payment from the commission’s account.
“The Parliament should also direct the commission to stop payments of all forms of allowances as this has been grossly abused and should only be allowed to pay salaries only.
“Example is the payment of special imprest unknown to law; one of such was paid to Mr Charles Odili, a Director in the commission, on the 30th of April, 2020 at about 12:56pm. A sum of N10 million was paid into his private account with UBA as special imprest”, the letter read in parts
Kolawole further alleged that Daniel Pondei who is the Chairman of the IMC routed one of his illegal monthly allowances of N51.6 million through the bank account of a staff named Oweife Justina with employee ID no 94.
He said the N51.6 million is for imprest on Personal Security and Project Monitoring for the IMC Chairman, adding that Cairo Ojugboh, a member of the IMC also collected N18 million for same purpose through a Bank account belonging to a staff Eno Ukpe with employee ID no 509.
According to him, members of the IMC also received N10 million monthly for hosting visitors and these payments are not connected to the money provided in the budget for project monitoring.
Kolawole said that Pondei paid himself and received foreign scholarship payments into his private UBA account no 1002290165 on April 17, 2020 at about 16:50gmt.
“Same for Dr Cairo Ojugboh who also received millions into his private account no 1002428409 around 16:24GMT being payment for 2020 Post graduate scholarship for himself.
“Several staff, especially those who had allegedly conspired with the present management to squander the commission’s fund, also received millions into their private accounts for same 2020 post graduate scholarship they never attended even during lockdown,” he stated.
He demanded that the National Assembly must strive to save the commission from the monster of corruption through the ongoing probe.
“Among numerous agitations, our office is, in recent times, inundated with cries from students abroad under the commission’s scholarship who are currently stranded in different countries. While these students are facing untold hardship, the present Interim Management Committee members are busy paying themselves money due to students.
“While our organization and other Civil Society Organizations await invitation to the expected public hearing, on the ongoing National Assembly probe of over 40 Billion Naira alleged corruption in the commission, to defend above allegations and more, under oath, activities in the commission have compelled the underlisted requests in the interest of the people of the region and the country at large, pending the outcome of the probe”, the letter further read.