Group alleges fresh evidence of N25 billion spending on imaginary road repairs by NDDC
Ex-militant leaders decry delayed contract payment by commission
Fresh allegation of extra-budgetary spending is rocking the Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC) as a group has accused the agency of spending N25 billion on regional contingency road repairs not appropriated for in the 2019 fiscal framework.
Head, Directorate of Research and Programmes, Act for Positive Transformation Initiative, a non-government organisation (NGO), Johnson Kolawale, disclosed this while addressing newsmen yesterday in Abuja.
He said that only N800 million was appropriated by the National Assembly in 2019 budget, but that the NDDC had so far spent a whopping N25 billion.He further said that there had been a flurry of extra-budgetary spending in the commission in the last few months, which is directly in breach of the law.
Kolawole, who gave a copy of a secret letter to The Guardian signed by Prof. Daniel Kemebradikumo Pondei, Acting MD/CEO of the NDDC addressed to the National Assembly and requesting virement, claimed that it was a clandestine move by the Interim Management Committee (IMC) to cover up the alleged fraud running into billions of naira.
In the letter, the IMC claimed to have spent N250 million on economic summit when only N30 million was provided for in the budget as Kolawole posed the question, where was this summit held?
He disclosed that the IMC also claimed to have spent another N200 million on sustainable development forum when only N45 million was budgeted for it. Kolawole, who is seeking an independent and impartial probe of the spending, said the IMC claimed to have spent N500 million on office administration and human resources when only N150 million was provided for in the budget and asked to know those that were employed.
Meanwhile, efforts to contact Pondei on the allegation proved abortive but Charles Obi Odili, spokesman of the NDDC, told The Guardian: “The IMC has not awarded any road contract. This is the warped imagination of a desperate and evil group bent on distracting and demonising the management of the commission. The IMC is above board.”
In another development, former militants leaders from the Niger Delta region have decried the untold hardship being experienced by contractors working with the IMC of the NDDC over non-payment of completed jobs.
They lamented that some contractors who use their homes and property to secure loans are facing threats of forfeiture to banks over such loans. The former militant leaders, under the aegis of the Leadership, Peace and Cultural Development Initiative (LPCDI), in a statement signed by its National President, Reuben Wilson and Secretary, Nature Kieghe, yesterday, urged the NDDC to stop the psychological pains being inflicted on contractors and commence immediate payment for those who have completed their projects.
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