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COVID-19 claims by NDDC officials ploy to scuttle probe, group insists

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Alleges over N75b fraud against N40b under scrutiny

Act for Positive Transformation Initiative (APTI) has called for investigation of the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) claims of Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC) officials, as it suspects it as a ploy to scuttle the pending investigation.

NDDC has been in the eye of the storm since April over allegations of corruption for which President Muhammad Buhari has ordered a forensic audit, while the National Assembly probes alleged N40b fraud in the commission.

Head, Directorate of Research, Strategy and Programmes, APTI, Kolawole Johnson, made the call in a statement issued in Abuja yesterday.In the document entitled ‘COVID-419 Drama and Continuous Corruption in NDDC’, Johnson drew the attention of the National Centre for Disease Control (NCDC), the Ministry of Health, the Presidential Task Force on COVID-19 and all relevant agencies to the need to immediately investigate NDDC’s claims and NCDC officials in Rivers State.

His words, “We also appeal to the Secretary to the Government of the Federation (SGF) Mr. Boss Mustapha, who doubles as the head of PTF on COVID-19 to compel NDDC to make available names of officials they claim are positive.”

The group also expressed concern over the circumstances leading to the death of the late Executive Director of Finance and Administration on Thursday, May 28, 2020.

“Very early in the day, our organisation, Act for Positive Transformation Initiative, had intercepted a sinister ploy to weave the unfortunate death around COVID-19.

“Some newspapers subtly reported this online. By 1pm, we were on a national television where we further warned actors to desist from such satanic plot.”

It also revealed that the plan involved shutting down NDDC offices, forcing staff to go on isolation and eventually returning with COVID-19 positive status claims in the public.

“We kept tabs on the movement of some officials. We can indeed provide information on where some of them visited to help in contact tracing.
“This worrisome development calls for serious investigation and immediate action.”

“We submit that this whole ploy is meant to jeopardise the ongoing probe of the commission. Our curiosity is further heightened by the slow pace of work by the National Assembly,” APTI stated.

Warning against any political settlement on the wicked rape of the people’s resources, officials of the group berated the National Assembly for failing to invite them till date despite their extensive work in exposing the corruption in the commission.

It also alerted the National Assembly and other relevant agencies that the fraud under probe was over N75 billion as against the N40 billion the National Assembly was probing. This, they added, is because the Interim Management Committee (IMC) has spent over N80 billion in four months.

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