Senate refutes allegations of culpability in NDDC fraud
The senate has refuted allegations that Senators and Members of House of Representative are the brains behind the fraud in NDDC by the executive Director of Projects of the Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC) under the Interim Management Committee (IMC) Dr. Cairo Ojougboh was said to have so alleged.
He said it clearly smacks of cheap blackmail predicated on a falsehood.
This was contained in a statement that was signed by the Senate’s Spokesperson senator Dr Ajibola Basiru and was made available to The Guardian in Abuja yesterday.
He said the National Assembly will not succumb to cheap blackmail from any quarters and is committed to ensuring probity and accountability of all agencies of government no matter whose ox is gored.
The spokesperson said they are at a loss as to why Dr. Ojougboh has repeatedly made such allegations at a time when the NDDC is under the scrutiny of forensic audit and investigation by the National Assembly.
“The Senate is even more surprised considering the fact that the allegations are baseless and unsubstantiated.
“Apparently Dr. Cairo Ojougboh is ignorant of the constitutional mandate of the National Assembly to carry out oversight function over all agencies expending government resources with a view to exposing and preventing corruption and abuse.
“It stands logic in the head to claim that by invoking it’s the constitutional power of oversight to investigate the activities of the IMC, the National Assembly intends to scuttle forensic audit. The outlandish claim is illogical.
He said clearly there is no adverse relationship between the oversight function of the National Assembly and a forensic audit.
Basiru said the National Assembly is committed to repositioning the NDDC to address the challenges of the Niger Delta through facilitating the rapid and sustainable development of the Niger Delta.
The spokesperson said that does not mean the Senate would not be concerned about the allegations of poor management or outright fraud in the management of the funds and operations of the commission.
According to him, “The setting up of the investigation is predicated on the above concern and not to victimise or witch hunt anyone adding that it was in that regards that the National Assembly accorded the executives the necessary cooperation that will facilitate the completion of the forensic audit.
“Dr. Cairo Ojougboh as a former member of the House of Representatives should know that the National Assembly is vested with the powers of appropriation for all government ministries, departments and agencies including the NDDC.
“It will appraise the budget and its operations of the Commission like other agencies to entrench a culture of transparency and accountability.”
He said for the allegations in respect of the budget, to have been brought up in the wake of exercise of oversight function by the National Assembly is suspect
“Also, one would have expected an organisation of integrity to have formally made complaints to the anti-corruption agencies of the purported allegations against Senators and Members of House of Representative of the NDDC committees if there are facts to substantiate same.
“The Senate and indeed the National Assembly is also committed to exercising its constitutional mandate and will not be cowed by spurious allegations of the likes of Dr. Cairo Ojougboh.
“This is a very disturbing trend and the Senate will not tow this path. The proper avenue to challenge the exercise of the power of the National Assembly is the court of law not spewing falsehood on pages of newspapers and electronic media.”
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