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NDDC Probe: Pondei, others collecting 30% before contractors get paid – Report

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The Senate has revealed that the Head of Interim Management Committee, IMC, of the Niger Delta Development Commission, Professor Kemebradikumo Daniel Pondei and other members of the Committee collect 20-30% of contract sums before contractors are paid.

Senator Olubunmi Adetunmbi of APC Ekiti North-led Ad-hoc Committee on the investigation of the alleged financial recklessness in the NDDC to the tune of N40billion by the IMC gave this report.

The Ad-hoc Committee’s report also indicated that the claim by the IMC and the Minister of Niger Delta Affairs, Senator Godswill Akpabio, that the headquarters of the Commission had been completed to 95 per cent is false.

In the report also, the Senate Committee said that these were revealed by the Chairman, Contractors Association of Niger Delta Development Commission, Mr Joe Adia in a written submission to it.

It read in part, “that the claim of the Interim Management Committee (IMC) of the NDDC of paying with less than N50 million is totally untrue as there are over 500 transformer installation and payments less than N4.5 million that have not been made for over eight years is not true”.

“That the new head of IMC, Prof Pondei and other members of the IMC are now collecting 20-30% of contract sums before contractors are paid”.

Adia further stated in his submission that the immediate past Acting Managing Director of the Commission, Mrs Gbene Joi Nunieh has stopped all contractors from accessing the commission till the completion of the forensic audit and this made it difficult for contractors to seek payment for projects they executed.

The committee’s report also read that the contractors that were being paid were those having access to the IMC and known to them but the real contractors that carried out their jobs judiciously were not paid.

In a written submission by a civil society organisation, Act for Positive Transformation Initiative to the committee, it was stated that an engineering company was awarded the contract of consultancy by the IMC on the campaign of awareness on the prevention of the spread of coronavirus in the NDDC states which it said, was in contravention of the Public Procurement Law.

Also contained in the report was the claim by the IMC of awarding the COVID-19 intervention contract after the approval of President Muhammadu Buhari was not true, adding, “the IMC had awarded the contracts prior to the presidential approval which is in total disregard of laid down procedures as the contract sum is above the board threshold”.

“That the Presidential approval for the procurement of COVID-19 emergency contract was granted on 30th May 2020 whereas the contract was given by the IMC long before the approval”.

“And that most of the contract approval was done in shady manners, some of the benefitting companies got 15% and above mobilization instantly after the approval of their contracts in less than 24 hours”.

Centre for Social Justice told the Senate Committee also in its written submission that the NDDC had never published a budget proposal in the hard or electronic copy to be made available to the public as well as its budget implementation report either on a quarterly, half-yearly or yearly basis and made same available to Nigerians.

It would be recalled that the Senate on 23rd July 2020 considered the Senator Adetunmbi-led Ad-hoc Committee on this investigation where it indicted itself as an institution for not carrying out an effective oversight function on the activities of the IMC of the NDDC that led to the high level of corruption in the interventionist agency.

In another development, the Senate had also asked President Muhammadu Buhari to as a matter of urgency, sack the Professor Kemebradikumo Daniel Pondei-led Interim Management Committee (IMC) of the Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC) over alleged financial recklessness and also constitute a new board for the NDDC.

 

Uchechi Ojo
Uchechi Ojo, is a Lagos-born and based writer, newscaster and voice-over artist. A versatile and committed journalist with the yearning to make a difference in the industry. She writes balanced, informative and interesting stories. Uchechi has the ability to interact and listen with rapt attention, excellent time management and great communication skills while paying attention to detail. She is very approachable and a good team player. Instagram | LinkedIn
Mike Ojo

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