Senate panel wants NDDC management arrested over N6.2b COVID-19 palliatives
Lawan backs Buhari’s forensic audit
Senate Committee on Ethics, Privilege and Public Petitions has resolved that a warrant of arrest be issued on the Sole Administrator of the Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC), Effiong Akwa, to appear before it and explain how N6.2b COVID-19 palliatives were spent.
It also resolved to investigate the alleged missing N27b for the payment of former workers of the defunct Power Holding Company of Nigeria (PHCN).
Chairman of the Committee, Ayoade Akinyelure, frowned on Akwa’s failure to appear before it and respond to the allegation that NDDC diverted N6.28b meant to procure COVID-19 palliatives approved by President Muhammadu Buhari for the Niger Delta region.
The committee had summoned the NDDC four times after it received a petition submitted from the Chairman of NDDC COVID-19 Palliative Distribution Committee, Chief Sobomavo Jackrich, alleging that the Interim Management Committee (IMC) of the NDDC mismanaged the N6.28b approved as palliatives for the region.
Speaking after the hearing, Sobomabo told journalists how much effort and resources he invested in coordinate the palliatives before the NDDC management allegedly misappropriated the funds.
“I was appointed the palliative Chairman, but when the Federal Government released N6.2b, the NDDC management spent the money without my knowledge,” he said.
On the alleged missing N27b PHCN workers’ pension money, the committee directed the National Association of Disengaged Staff of Power Holding Company of Nigeria to provide further documentation to substantiate its allegations to facilitate the investigation.
Akinyelure assured that his committee would leave no stone unturned to ensure that justice is done in the matter once enough documents are made available to support their petition.
The Bureau of Public Enterprises (BPE) had also earlier written to disown a private company, which it hired to pay the money to the formers workers.
Emmanuel Okere, who represented the former PHCN workers told the committee that he had tried to meet the BPE several times to discuss the issue, adding that the Bureau refused to create the opportunity for dialogue.
He pleaded with the committee to prevail on the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) to avail it with some documents relating to the alleged missing N27b.
MEANWHILE, President of the Senate, Ahmed Lawan, yesterday, declared that the National Assembly was in support of President Mohammadu Buhari’s resolve to sanitise operations of the NDDC.
Addressing newsmen in Abuja, Lawan said: “We need to sanitise the NDDC and get the resources fully deployed to develop the Niger Delta.”
Lawan said the need to end the forensic audit at the NDDC and ensure that government functions optimally in all sectors formed the crux of deliberations with the President.
“We also discussed the need to ensure that government functions well. We have housekeeping issues of getting nominations for the NDDC board. And I agree with the President, that we have to end the forensic audit to ensure that everything is done properly and the report submitted to him,” he said.
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