Auditor-General’s Queries: Reps Summon All NDDC’s Present, ex-Directors In Fresh Probe

The House of Representatives has summoned past and current officials who have superintended over the affairs of the Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC) in a fresh probe to explain their alleged roles on the billions of naira frittered away at the Commission.

The current and former NDDC MDs are to appear before the House Committee on Public Accounts to help the House unravel how some funds got missing and remained unaccounted for in the past and present records of the NDDC.

Managing Director of the Interim Management Committee of the NDDC, Prof. Daniel Pondei; former MD, Timi Alaibe (2007-2009); Nsima Ekere (2016) and the immediate-past acting MD, Dr. Joi Nunieh are among those summoned by the committee chaired by Hon. Wole Oke.

Also, former MDs, Directors and board members to be questioned by Committee include Dr Osato Arenyeka (2011); Dr Christiana Atako (2013); Bassey Dan-Abia (2013); Ibim Semenitari (2015); Prof Nelson Brambaifa (2019); Chris Amadi and Dr Enyia Akwagaga (2019).

Former and current members of the IMC including Executive Director of Projects, Dr. Cairo Ojougboh were summoned.

The House Committee on Public Accounts summoned the officials following queries issued by the Office of the Auditor-General of the Federation on the accounts of the NDDC.

The House has been probing the N81.5bn said to have been spent fraudulently in less than 6 months by the Commission.

But The New Diplomat gathered that the summon issued by the Committee borders on fresh allegations of mismanagement at the NDDC.

The Committee decided to invite the past NDDC MDs due to the inability of the current IMC to answer the queries issued by the Auditor-General of the Federation as some of the spendings were said to have predated it.

The Auditor-General’s queries, it was learnt, were raised in 2008-2012 and 2013-2018 report recently submitted to the House Committee.

Others expected to appear before the Committee are Beniah Ojum, Power Aginigha (late), Chibuzo Ugwuoha, Esoetek Etteh, Christian Oboh, Edikan Eshiet, Mr Kombowei, Tuoyo Omatsuli, Henry Ogiri, Samuel Adjogbe and Mene Derek.

The National Assembly has been probing the record financial scandal at the NDDC with flurries of allegations and rebuttals dominating public space.

Last week, the Senate Committee investigating allegations of financial recklessness at the Commission mandated the current IMC MD, Pondei and other board members to refund the N4.923billion they paid to staff and contractors in breach of the procurement process and approvals.

Committee while wrapping up his investigation, also asked President Muhammadu Buhari to sack the current IMC led by Pondei in its recommendations. It also asked the President to move the NDDC backed to presidency for proper oversight.