The Senate Committee on Investigation of Financial recklessness by the Interim Management Committee (IMC) of the Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC) to the tune of N40 billion has revealed that the new head of the IMC, Professor Kemebradikumo Pondei and other members of the Committee now collect 20 per cent to 30 per cent of contract sums upfront.
According to the report of the committee which is headed by Senator Olubunmi Adetunmbi,, claims by the IMC and the Minister of Niger Delta Affairs, Godswill Akpabio that the Headquarters of the Commission was 95% completed was false. This was said to have been revealed by the Chairman, Contractors Association of Niger Delta Development Commission, Mr Joe Adia.
Part of the report read: “that the claim of the Interim Management Committee( IMC) of the NDDC of paying with less than N50 Million is totally untrue as there are over 500 transformer installation and payments less than N4.5 million that have not been made for over eight years is untrue.
“That the new head of IMC- Prof Pondei and other members of IMC are now collecting 20% – 30% of contract sums before Contractors are paid.”
The Immediate past Acting Managing Director of the Commission, Mrs Gbene Joi Nunieh, according to Adia, had stopped all payments to contractors from till the completion of the Forensic Audit.
The report also stated that “the Contractors that are paid were those having access to the IMC and known to them and that the real contractors that did their job judiciously were not paid.
In another submission by a Civil Society Organisation, Act for Positive Transformation Initiative, an engineering company was awarded a consultancy contract on coronavirus awareness in contravention of public procurement laws. The contract was also awarded before the approval of the president.
“That the Presidential approval for the procurement of COVID-19 emergency contract was granted on 30th May 2020 whereas the contract was given by the IMC long before the approval.
“That most of the contract approval were done in shady manner and that some of the benefitting companies got 15% and above mobilization instantly after the approval of their contracts in less than 24 hours.”
Another submission from the Centre for Social Justice told the Committee that the NDDC had never published a budget proposal in the hard or soft copy to be made available to the public as well as its Budget implementation report at any time.
The Senate had asked President Buhari to urgently sack the Professor Kemebradikumo Pondei-led IMC of NDDC over alleged financial recklessness and constitute a new board for the NDDC, and also began a probe into allegations.
A six-member committee was asked to do a holistic investigation on NDDC. The committee was given four weeks to complete its assignment.