The House of Representatives has invited the Minister of Niger Delta Affairs, Sen. Godswill Akpabio, over alleged N40 billion spent in two months by the Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC).
Going by the lawmakers, the fund was allegedly spent without due regard to the Fiscal Responsibility Act.
Also to appear is the Interim Management Committee of NDDC to explain to the house, the plan of the commission to ameliorate the effect of the present economic situation on the region.
This was sequel to a unanimous adoption of a motion raised by Rep. Peter Akpatason (APC-Edo) at the plenary on Tuesday.
He argued that the oil producing and gas processing companies from whom the NDDC was significantly funded were severely affected by the COVID-19 pandemic.
“The House Committee on NDDC is inundated with petitions from contractors, stakeholders and public interest groups regarding alleged personnel layoffs and replacement with unqualified and inexperienced persons to man strategic offices in the commission, thereby hampering efficiency and productivity.
“The plethora of petitions and write-ups, both in the main stream and social media outlets against the current interim management of the commission’s imprudent spending of scarce financial resources.
“I am alarmed by claims that the commission had spent over N40 billion in a space of two months without corresponding effect on the region.
“70 per cent of the said amount were allegedly made on emergency projects and completion of commission’s headquarters building, without due regard to fiscal governance as encapsulated in the Fiscal Responsibility Act, 2007 and other extant Financial Regulations,” he said.
Akpatason said that in the wake of COVID-19, contract was allegedly awarded for the supply of Hilux vehicles and medical consumables to the tune of N4.8bn which were in clear breach of sections 19, 25, 41 and 42 of the Public Procurement Act, 2007
He said the forensic audit mandated by President Muhammdu Buhari for which the Interim Management Committee was set up was most likely to become “a conduit for forensic looting.”
The house mandated its committee on NDDC to investigate all issues relating to misapplication and misappropriation of funds by the commission and report to the house.