The ongoing investigations into the misappropriation of funds in the Niger Delta Development Commission has taken a new twist as the House of Representatives has invited all serving and former heads of the commission for further questioning over billions of naira allegedly unaccounted for.
The summons was issued by the House Committee on Public Accounts following various queries issued by the Office of the Auditor-General of the Federation over the accounts of the NDDC.
This is different from the probe being carried out by the House Committee on the NDDC over alleged illegal spending and mismanagement of funds totalling N81.5bn.
Amongst those invited for questioning by the House Committee on Public Accounts over unaccounted funds include the acting Managing Director and head of the Interim Management Committee, Prof. Daniel Pondei; a former MD, Timi Alaibe; and the immediate-past acting MD, Dr Joi Nunieh.
Chairman of the Committee, Mr Wole Oke, revealed that the IMC was unable to give answers to the queries issued by the Office of the Auditor-General as part of spending was done before it was appointment.
According to Oke, “the 2008-2012 auditor’s queries were submitted along with 2013-2018 recently. Previous (National) Assembly PAC did not touch it. We have written the NDDC to respond to the queries.
“The NDDC’s IMC appeared once and they could not defend the queries because, in fairness to them, they were not in office (then). We have asked them to produce those in office that mismanaged the NDDC.”
The lawmaker listed former MDs, directors and board members to be produced by the NDDC as Timi Alaibe (2007-2009), Dr Osato Arenyeka (2011), Dr Christiana Atako (2013), Bassey Dan-Abia (2013), Ibim Semenitari (2015), Nsima Ekere (2016), Prof Nelson Brambaifa (2019) and Chris Amadi, Dr Enyia Akwagaga (2019).
Others 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.
Former and current members of the IMC to appear are the immediate-past acting MD, Nunieh; and Executive Director of Projects, Dr Cairo Ojougboh.
Oke also faulted the Federal Government’s plan to engage forensic auditors on behalf of the NDDC.
The lawmaker said, “To seek to engage external professional by the FGN simply means lack of trust in the capacity of the Auditor-General of the Federation and his workers. We are simply going to waste money on forensic auditors. The National Assembly PACs serve as another layer, pursuant to Section 85 of the Constitution to check and expose corruption. Various statues, if deployed at work, will sanitise the NDDC.”