The Minister of Niger Delta Affairs, Godswill Akpabio on Monday, July 20, strongly denied that about N40 billion was missing from the Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC).
Akpabio made this assertion during the probe by the House of Representatives into the alleged mismanagement of finances at the NDDC.
1st News had reported that part of the allegation levelled against the Commission was that N40 billion was missing; and could not be accounted for by the management.
However, Akpabio stated that “N40 billion cannot go missing from the account of the NDDC; because it is domiciled at the CBN. Before this administration, NDDC had over 300 bank accounts with various commercial banks.”
Revealing that it was possible for such an amount of money to be missing during the period in the past when over 300 accounts were run by the NDDC; he explained that it was impossible under the current TSA mandate.
The Minister at the panel denied the claim by the former NDDC MD; Joi Nunieh that he coerced her to take an oath.
He noted that Nunieh spent N23 billion while in office. Further, Akpabio affirmed that she was relieved of her duty due to insubordination.
He said since his appointment as Minister that he had awarded only three contracts in the NDDC; adding that he had never received any money or executed a contract from the agency.
Noting that Ernst and Young had been approved by the Bureau of Public Procurement for the forensic audit of the NDDC; Akpabio denied claims that he had hijacked the ongoing audit of the commission.
He said that the N1.5 billion COVID-19 allowance that the commission paid to its staff was equally received by the retired staff of the commission. According to Akpabio, the NDDC has two sources of funding which are the statutory transfers by the Federal Government and the 23 per cent accrual from oil companies.
Lawmakers issued most NDDC contracts – Akpabio
Akpabio also stated that most of the contracts in the NDDC are given to National Assembly members.
“Who are even the greatest beneficiary of the contracts? It’s you people at the national assembly,” he said.
A female lawmaker had interrupted him saying: “Can I ask you a question? What is the benefit that the National Assembly is benefiting from NDDC?”
The minister responded: “I just told you that we have records to show that most of the contracts in NDDC are given out to members of the national assembly but you don’t know about it, the two chairmen can explain to you. I was a member of the NDDC committee so I know about it.”