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More trouble in NDDC as NASS discovers fresh missing N143bn in 2019 budget

Abia oil host communities accuse NDDC, ASOPADEC of neglect

The alleged fraud in the Niger Delta Development Commission ( NDDC) is taking a deeper dimension as the National Assembly on Tuesday discovered that a fresh N143 billion is missing from the 2019 budget of the Commission.

The National Assembly is probing the Interim Management Committee ( IMC) of the NDDC over alleged misapplication of N81 billion.

On Tuesday, the National Assembly joint Committee on Niger Delta Affairs held a budget defence session with top management staff of the NDDC. The agency was led by the managing director, Keme Pondei.

The lawmakers discovered during presentation by Pondei that there are discrepancies in the commission’s figures for expenditure in the 2019 budget.

Pondei in his presentation before the joint committee led by Peter Nwaoboshi (PDP Delta North) submitted that the Commission received N305.5bn as revenue in the 2019 and spent N122bn from the amount received with the balance of N183.2bn.

He said: “In compliance with the provision of the 2019 Appropriation Act, we implemented the 2019 capital budget till May 31.

“On the expenditure side, 2019 budget implementation was hindered by the delay in its approval and release coupled with the COVID- 19 global pandemic.

“Only recurrent expenditure which runs from January 1st – December 31st 2019 was implemented substantially.”

However, chairman of House of Representatives Committee on NDDC, Olubunmi Tunji-Ojo faulted the 2019 budget report of the Commission as he disclosed that the report submitted to the joint Committee only revealed N40 billion.

He queried the managing director of the Commission on discrepancies observed in the 2019 budget report presentation to which Pondei quickly responded by requesting for the withdrawal of 2019 budget details in order to address the issue of discrepancies of N143bn raised by the federal lawmaker.

The request, however, angered other members of the committee who were later pacified by Nwaoboshi.

Nwaoboshi in yielding to the request of NDDC boss adjourned the budget presentation till next week Tuesday.