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NDDC fraud gets messier as Akpabio names lawmakers involved in contracts

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The minister of the Niger Delta Affairs Senator Godswill Akpabio has made public names of federal lawmakers involved in contract racketeering in the Niger Delta Development Commission NDDC.

It would be recalled that Akpabio while answering questions last week during one of the sessions of the forensic probe of the NDDC had alleged that some of the contracts meant for the development of the Niger Delta region were awarded to some federal lawmakers.

This allegation by the minister irked the legislators with the speaker of the Federal House of Representatives Femi Gbajabiamila threatening the minister with a lawsuit, unless he reveals the identities of the lawmakers involved.

Consequently, in a letter addressed to the speaker, Akpabio named Senator Peter Nwaoboshi was involved in 53 projects, while Senator Nicholas Mutu’s name appeared on 74 projects.

Also named in the list are Senator Mathew Urhoghide (six), James Manager (six), Sam Anyanwu (19) and others simply identified as Ondo and Edo Reps.

The letter read in part: “I refer to the resolution of the House passed on the 21st July 2020 and forwarded to me on the same day Ref. NASS/HR/LEG/3/36/VOL.ll/O8 directing me to respond to the contents therein within 48.”

“I never referred to members of the 9th National Assembly as beneficiaries of NDDC contracts as NDDC is yet to fully implement any NDDC budget since the commencement of the 9th National Assembly. In fact. the 2019 budget passed in February and harmonised between the 4th and 5th of March 2020 was received by the Commission in the middle of April, 2020, when same was designated to expire on the 31st of May, 2020,” Akpabio continued.

“However, it is pertinent to point out that the Clerk of the National Assembly forwarded a letter Ref. NASS/CNA/115/VOL.38/1175, dated 20th March, 2020, without attaching the budget details indicating that the 2020 budget of the NDDC passed into Law was being forwarded (copy of the letter is attached as Annexure ‘A’). This anomaly was brought to the attention of the Senate Ad Hoc Committee investigating a purported financial recklessness by the management of the commission in July 2020, though the first outcry was on allegation of missing N40bn which was totally untrue;

“It has always been known that the two chairmen of the committees on NDDC in both chambers yearly exhibit unusual influence to the exclusion of committee members and even the management of the NDDC in appropriating funds to details embellished in the budget after passage of line items at the plenaries. In the 2019 budget, the Executive Director Projects forwarded to me the attached list of 19 Nos. old contracts amounting to almost N9bn after tax, that the House of Representatives Committee Chairman on NDDC, Honourable Tunji-Ojo, insisted the IMC of NDDC must pay before 2019 budget details could be released to the commission (see Annexure ‘A1’),” he said.

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