The acting Managing Director of the Niger Delta Development Company (NDDC), Prof. Kemebradikumo Pondei, and his team, on Thursday, walked out on legislators investigating the alleged N82.5 billion irregular expenditure in the commission.
Pondei stormed out of the hearing on Thursday in Abuja, after accusing the Chairman of the House Committee on the Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC), Hon. Olubumi Tunji-Ojo (APC-Ondo) of corruption.
“We in the NDDC are not comfortable with the Chairman of this committee presiding over a matter.
“He is an accused party.
“The NDDC has, over time accused, Rep. Olubumi Tunji-Ojo of different crimes against the NDDC and he has responded in the press.
“He is an interested party and we do not believe that the NDDC can have justice because he cannot seat on his own case.
“We have no issue of appearing.
“We appeared before the Senate ad hoc committee and as long as he remains, we will not make any presentation,” he said.
‘NDDC spent N82.5bn in five months’
The committee had, on Wednesday, interrogated officials of the Central Bank of Nigeria, the Accountant-General of the Federation and the Auditor-General of the Federation over an alleged N82.5bn spent by the NNDC between January and May 2020.
The committee’s chairman said the documents submitted by both the CBN and the Auditor-General of the Federation showed that the total amount spent by the NDDC from January to May 2020 was N81.5 billion.
He said the commission claimed to have spent N1.3bn on community relations, N122.9m on condolences, N83m on consultancy and N3.14bn on COVID-19, N486m Duty Travel Allowance, N790.9m as imprest, N1.956bn on Lassa Fever, N900m on Legal Service, N220m on maintenance, N85.6m on foreign travels, N1.121bn on public projects communication, N744m on security, N8.8bn on staffing-related payment.
He said the NDDC also spent N248m on stakeholders’ engagement from February 18 to May 31, 2020.
The Auditor-General, Anthony Ayine and the representative of the Accountant-General, Sabo Mohammed, confirmed the N81.5bn transactions being investigated.
Ayine said there should be punitive measures to discourage agencies violating the constitution.
The NDDC Interim Management Committee members were not present at the hearing on Wednesday, but wrote a letter to the investigative hearing committee informing it of an invitation to the Federal Executive Council meeting and requested to appear on Thursday (today).