NDDC Probe: IMC to refund N4.923bn alleged illegal payments to staff, contractors.
On Thursday, the Senate of Nigeria called on the Interim Management Commitee (IMC) of the Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC) to refund the N4.923 billion payments, made to staff and contractors in breach of procurement process.
According to the Senate resolution, the refund should be made to the NDDC’s Account with immediate effect.
The Senate’s order was sequel to the adoption of recommendations of the Senate Ad Hoc Committee, investigating the alleged misappropriation of N40 billion by the current IMC as presented by the Chairman, Sen. Adetumbi (APC Ekiti).
A breakdown of the refund included Overseas Travel to the United Kingdom N85.7million, Scholarship grants N105.5 million, Union Members’ trip to Italy N164.2 million.
The IMC is also to refund to the NDDC’s Account: payment made for Lassa Fever Kit, N1.96 billion; payment for Public Communication valued at N1.12 billion, and COVID-19 fund, N1.49 billion.
The Senate also approved the recommendation that all expenditures on historical contracts and obligations like hotels, court judgment among others be refunded, as the payments were not provided for in the budget.
The Senate also resolved that henceforth, the NDDC should report directly to President Muhammadu Buhari.
It also recommendeded that the President should dissolve the IMC and set up a board for the commission.
The Office of the Auditor-General of the Federation, should have oversight of the forensic audit to ensure transparency, the Senate recommended.
It urged the Federal Government to appoint a renowned auditor to supervise the forensic audit.
The Senate also recommended the strengthening of the NDDC’s procurement department through appropriate staff engagement, by appointing staff with procurement chartered status, improved staff training among other policies on procurement process.
A review of the corporate social responsibility of the NDDC, was also recommended by the Senate adding that it was difficult to find a correlation between the Niger Delta community development and the cash invested in the zone.
The continued cash injection in the Niger Delta Development Commission has not worked under the various IMCs.
The Senate stressed on the need for government to intervene, by stepping down the IMC and properly consititute a board with specific mandate, to address the pains of the Niger Delta people. (NAN)