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Group seeks Pondei, IMC’s resignation over corruption allegations

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NDDC petitions police over unexecuted contracts

The Transparency and Accountability Advancement Group (TAAG), at the weekend, charged Acting Managing Director of the Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC), Professor Kemebradikumo Daniel Pondei and the Interim Management Committee (IMC) to resign over alleged corruption and financial recklessness.

In a statement issued by its Director of Information and Strategy, Damian Nwikinaka, the group disclosed that Pondei’s claim that the IMC was blackmailed to pay contractors in exchange for approval of the 2019 budget by the National Assembly’s committee on NDDC in March 2020 was criminal.

“If indeed Pondei and the IMC have been blackmailed to make unauthorised payments, they should approach the anti-graft agencies, confess and indicate any companies that collaborated with them. The media is not a prosecuting agency and Pondei and the IMC should know this,” the statement added.

The group said Pondei brought shame to the National Assembly and Nigerians by fainting during cross-examination to escape queries on how billions of naira were frittered away within a few months under his watch.

The group alleged that in a bid to escape prosecution and continue its frivolous mismanagement of the NDDC, the IMC turned itself into an actor to distract Nigerians from the agency’s corruption and financial recklessness.

It urged President Muhammadu Buhari to dissolve the IMC and restore probity and responsible management at the NDDC, as well as implement Senate’s resolutions, while directing anti-corruption agencies to prosecute all those indicted in the report.

In a related development, the NDDC has petitioned the Nigeria Police Force (NPF), seeking the investigation of unexecuted multi-billion contracts awarded to politicians for which they had been paid.

This was disclosed in a letter Pondei sent to the Inspector General of Police (IGP), Mohammed Adamu, which hinted that the Niger Delta region had suffered serious deprivations due to non-execution of such contracts.

Chairman, Senate Committee on Niger Delta Affairs, Peter Nwaoboshi, had last week denied any link with a N2.5b unexecuted NDDC contracts for which payments had been made to his companies.

Nwaoboshi was among the lawmakers Minister of Niger Delta Affairs, Godswill Akpabio named as one of the beneficiaries of unexecuted contracts the commission had awarded.

The NDDC’s letter to Nwaoboshi, dated July 5, 2020 and signed by Director of Legal Services, Peter Claver Okoro, asked that the N2.5b paid to contractors for the production of plastic desks and chairs for primary and secondary schools in the Niger Delta region in 2017 under its 2016 budget, should be refunded.

But responding, Nwaoboshi in a statement issued by his media aide, Awele Onokwai, dared the NDDC to go to court for demanding refund of the N2.5b being payment for unexecuted projects, if it had a genuine case against him.


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