Fresh trouble in NDDC over N6.25bn Covid-19 Palliatives, incurs wrath of Senate

February 8, 2021
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The Niger-Delta Development Commission (NDDC) has continued to be embroiled in crisis of alleged misappropriations being investigated by the two chambers of the National Assembly. Meanwhile, the Senate which has been investigating allegation misappropriation of N6.25 billion by the former NDDC Interim Management Committee (IMC) has been irked by the refusal of the former IMC Managing Director to honour the invitation of the committee.

The Senate, accordingly, cautioned the management of the dissolved NDDC Interim Management Committee for the last, ordering the members appearance before the Senate Committee on Ethics, Privileges and Public Petition investigating the disbursement of N6.25 billion Covid-19 palliatives in the Niger Delta states.

The Senate Committee on Ethics, Privileges and Public Petition, specifically, admonished the former Managing Director of the dissolved NDDC IMC, Prof. Daniel Pondei, and the board members to respond to its invitation or be prepared for the consequences or bear the brunt.

The Senate is investigating a petition by former Chairman of the NDDC Covid-19 Palliative Committee, Chief Sobomabo Jackrich; who alleged the misappropriation and diversion of the palliative funds. Jackrich, in the petition, demands among others that the Senate mandates the IMC to return all monies the committee received from the Federal Government, including remittances from the International Oil Companies, IOCs, and pay them back into government’s treasury.

Jackrich had revealed that he was sidelined during the palliative fund expenditure which he said the IMC hijacked the process to perpetrate the fraud because he had insisted on strict adherence on transparency and due process in the dispensation of the palliatives in the Niger Delta states.

Jackrich had declared: “As Chairman of the Covid-19 Palliative Distribution Committee of the NDDC, I testify that N6.25 billion approved by Mr. President for palliatives for the Niger-Delta through the NDDC cannot be accounted for and is allegedly embezzled by Professor Daniel Pondei- led IMC.” The palliative committee chairman of the dissolved IMC further revealed that “to cover up their deceit, the IMC staged managed the distribution of a few expired food items and old medical equipment from NDDC warehouse to deceive the unsuspecting members of the public and mislead the President.”

It was gathered that the Senate Committee had issued four invitations to the former NDDC IMC which were ignored.  The executives of the NDDC IMC were said to have declined to appear before the Senate Committee Thursday, last week, after previous invitations were disregarded.

Chairman of the Senate Committee, Ayo Akinyelure, was said to have berated the NDDC IMC of scheming to dodge Senate investigation of the petition. A Senator from Ondo State, and others from the state were not aware of the distribution of the N6.25 billion Covid-19 Palliative funds disbursed in the region.

The Senate, however, extended the invitation to Monday, February 22, with strong and last warning to Prof. Pondei and the board members to ensure they make appearance before the committee or face the full wrath of the law.

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