Group accuses NDDC of attempts to cover up alleged N40bn fraud

Posted by News Express | 18 May 2020 | 899 times

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•Minister of Niger Delta, Godswill Akpabio


A non-governmental organization, the Act for Positive Transformation Initiative (APTI), has said that the Interim Management Committee (IMC), of the Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC), is making moves aimed at covering up its alleged N40 billion scam by approaching the National Assembly with a virement proposal amounting to the same sum.

The Head, Directorate of Research, Strategy & Programmes of APTI, Mr. Kolawole Johnson, in a statement issued on Monday in Abuja and made available to DAILY INDEPENDENT said the IMC has sent a virement request to the National Assembly without waiting to defend itself on how it utilized the sum of N40 billion in illegal payments.

The statement noted saying: “After a flurry of the petition including the one submitted by our organization, the Act for Positive Transformation Initiative, accompanied with incontrovertible documents, the National Assembly passed a resolution to investigate the N40 billion fraud allegations against the Interim Management Committee, (IMC) of the Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC).

“This urgent statement of public importance is meant raise an alarm over ongoing clandestine moves to cover up for the alleged fraud.

“This is to alert Nigerians that the IMC has sent a request for virement to the National Assembly few days to the end of budget lifespan which is expected to end on May 31, 2020”, the group stated.

It alleged that “In a letter carefully marked ‘SECRET’ sent to the Senate over the weekend, the NDDC is seeking for virement to cover up for the many extra budgetary spending and fraudulent contract awards that have brought the commission to its knees in the last six months”.

“This act, which clearly contravenes the provisions of the law, is meant to cover up for numerous contract scams we have specifically accused the commission of perpetrating.

“Some line items on the virement list shamefully expose the frantic move of the commission to reverse the illegal acts that will certainly send many actors to jail,” it said.

The statement further said that “In the secret letter which was addressed to the Senate and was signed by the acting Managing Director, Prof. Daniel Pondel, the IMC presently seeks for virement to cover up several illegal spending, like a whooping 400,000,000 (Four hundred million naira) purportedly spent on ‘Regional Communication Strategy/Production of Annual Reports’, a project the 2019 budget as passed by the National Assembly provided N110 Million for”.

“This is over 300% increase in an expenditure that will not have direct impact on the well being of the people at this time.

“In the same vein, the National Assembly approved N37 million for ‘MD/CEO Football Competition’, the IMC is seeking virement for diversion of over N100,000,000 (One Hundred Million naira) via same competition.

“The IMC is seeking for virement for N500 million naira for ‘Community Sensitization to support project implementation’ when only N100 million was approved in the budget. Another 400% increase.

“Also, ‘Supply of Science Equipments to Secondary Schools’ was moved from N200 million to N1.2Billion while same item was repeated as ‘Supply of Science Equipments to Nursery, Primary & Secondary Schools’ and another N1.36 Billion which was requested for approval for same item, totaling N2.56 Billion cover up attempt.

“Provisions for Annual Economic Summit’ was moved from N30 Million to N250 Million and Provisions for Project Inspection and Commissioning’ moved from N70 Million to N250 Million’.

“Medical Assistance for Staff of the Commission’ was moved from N15 Million to N455 Million.

“Funny items as above scattered in the request are obviously meant to cover up for many fraudulent payments the commission has made considering the fact that this virement is sought majorly for money already spent in defiance to financial guidelines and regulations”, the statement alleged.

The group therefore wondered how the Commission can justify what it referred to as “these mindless looting” at a time when the country is struggling hard to break even in income.

According to them, “this sudden request at the middle of a publicized investigation of N40 billion fraud in the commission certainly confirms our suspicion”. (Daily Independent)

Source: News Express

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