TheHouseof Representatives Public Accounts Committee yesterday summoned all executive directors and commissioners of the Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC) over alleged N70.495,993,761 billion being contracts fund awarded to 1,723 contractors who allegedly absconded without execution of projects
The former commissioners and executive directors have been directed to honour the summons not later than seven days from yesterday.
Chairman of the Committee, Hon. Oluwole Oke, who issued the summons, accused the ex-commissioners and executive directors of flouting the provisions of the appropriation act, 2011 and the 1999 Constitution by approving over inflated contracts and making over payments to the affected contractors.
Oke also accused bank chief executives of fraudulently raising advance payment guarantees for the contractors. Consequently, the committee demanded from the act ing managing director of the NDDC, Prof. Meme Pondei, to furnish it with the details of all the 1,723 contractors and the projects awarded to them between 2011 and 2012.
The committee chairman alleged that the officials contravened the law and threatened that he would recommend to the president for the ex-commissioners and executive directors to be banned from holding public office. He said: “We won’t allow such behaviour to go unpunished. Some people have intentionally raped and violated the provisions of the appropriation act and the 1999 Constitution”. Speaking at the hearing, the acting managing director, Prof. Meme Podei, said that most of the expenditure in the contracts were made after the late passage of the commission’s annual budgets.
He admitted that the officials had flouted the laws and demanded that the committee give him four weeks to comply with the directives. In his submission, the executive director (projects monitoring), Dr. Cairo Ojuogboh, said that the contractors were mobilised without work done.
He added that 90 per cent of the contracts were awarded between 2011 and 2012, adding that there was excess payment made by the agency was more than the value of work done.
Other committee members of the committee at the investigation expressed dismay at the level of cor-ruption at the agency, saying the amount involved in the fraud was humongous. Those who spoke included Hon. Mark Gbillah(APC, Benue) and Hon. Fred Agbedi (PDP, Bayelsa).
Meanwhile, the Interim Management Committee (IMC) of the Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC), yesterday, snubbed the Senate Committee on Niger Delta Affairs, investigating the alleged illegal sack of some staff of the Commission between February and May this year.