NDDC STINKS: N140BN LOOTED UNDER IN FOUR MONTHS – WHISTLE BLOWER
…105 CRONIES APPOINTED THROUGH BACK DOOR
Unless urgent steps are immediately taken to put a halt, a fresh round of looting looms in the Niger Delta Development Commission under the watch of the Minister of Niger Delta Affairs, Senator Godswill Akpabio.
An anti-corruption group has revealed that a whooping N140bn has been squandered by the NDDC since Akpabio took over as the supervising Minister of the Commission, with a chunk of the spending going into the controversial desilting project that has raised dust.
A whistle blower group, Act for Positive Transformation says it has uncovered a plot by the Interim Management Committee (IMC) of the Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC) to loot the commission’s fund this week through another round of illegal extra-budgetary expenditure by back dating documents to enable the alleged fraudulent spendings, beginning from Monday 14th.
The group raised the alarm in a letter it wrote to the Minister of Niger Delta Affairs, Senator Godswill Akpabio, dated 15th September, 2020.
The letter was signed by Mr. Johnson Kolawole, the group’s Head, Directorate of Research, Planning and Programmes.
FEC members copied in the letter include Secretary to the Government of the Federation, Boss Mustapha; Chief of Staff to the President, Ibrahim Gambari; the Minister of Finance, Zainab Ahmed and the Attorney General of the Federation, Abubakar Malami.
The group claimed the NDDC has spent N30 billion in the last three months without an approved budget, noting the spendings were against President Muhammadu Buhari’s directive which Akpabio had even communicated to the press.
According to the group, a decision reached at the Federal Executive Council, (FEC) that the NDDC should not on its own pay the forensic auditors, auditing the Commission’s account because it has no approved budget yet, was a clear indication that the FEC was not ready to support any unlawful and illegal expenditure at the commission, as the law was clear on extra budgetary expenditure.
“Recall that The Federal Executive Council, FEC, presided over by President Muhammadu Buhari on August 26th approved the sum of 722 Million Naira for forensic auditors cleared on the same day to audit the Niger Delta Development Commission, NDDC.
“Speaking with journalists at the end of the meeting, you (Sen Godswill Akpabio) informed the public that the approved payment shall be funded by the Presidency because the commission’s budget has not been approved by the National Assembly, hence cannot make capital expenditure.
“Against the position of FEC and The President which you communicated to the Press, the NDDC under you has sustained its illegal spending against the law, with impunity.
“Records show that extra budgetary expenditure under your supervision has hit Thirty (30) Billion Naira in just three months.
“A fresh plot has, again, been uncovered to loot the commission’s resources this week via another round of illegal extra budgetary expenditure.
Top officials of the commission were sighted at the commission’s office on Saturday, 12th of September, preparing and backdating documents to fast track this set of payments beginning from Monday 14th,” the letter read.
“It is on record that about 140 (One Hundred and Forty) Billion Naira has so far been spent under your supervision as the supervising Minister over the Commission. It is also instructive to note that payment for desilting against the instruction of Mr President has dominated the recent illegal expenditure.”
In the letter to Akpabio, the Act for Positive Transformation further revealed that 105 contract staff have been illegally engaged by the NDDC, with some notable names of Akpabio’s kinsmen on the list. According to the group, the new employees neither went through any aptitude test nor were interviewed for the positions.
“Also note, Your Excellency, we are cognizant that illegal recruitment is ongoing in the commission.
“About 105 contract staff were recently employed, illegally, without aptitude test or interviews, under your watch.
“Though the Commission attempted to deny this but records shall speak. While we await the September payroll to fish them out and act on official document that cannot be disputed, names like: ANIEMA AKPABIO, BASSEY INNEMESIT, PATIENCE AKPAN etc, are certainly familiar to you, they are beneficiaries of the said unlawful recruitment. It is only fair to halt this illegal employment and ensure due process is followed in any recruitment where proper gap analysis and competence
assessment shall be prioritized.
Source: New Diplomat Newspaper