The Senate ad-hoc committee investigating the N40 billion corruption allegation against the Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC) has presented an update on the matter to senators.
The Senate and the House of Representatives are probing an allegation that the Interim Management Committee of the NDDC squandered N40 billion within three months.
The Senate committee chairman, Olubunmi Adetunmbi, during plenary on Tuesday, said the committee’s work had been slowed down by the coronavirus pandemic.
The proceedings of the plenary are published in a series of tweets by the Senate (@NGRSenate).
Mr Adetunmbi said his committee has just started receiving responses from those they sent invitation letters to.
Based on Mr Adetunmbi’s request, the Senate extended the committee’s tenure for four weeks.
“On behalf of my colleagues here, I want to wish you a successful exercise,” the Senate President, Ahmad Lawan, said to the committee. “I will urge you to be focused on the assignment.
“This investigation has generated a lot of attention and side attractions, but we must not listen to all those things people are saying,” Mr Lawan added.
The NDDC management had said that the Senate investigation was instigated by people who want to scuttle the planned forensic audit of the commission.
The NDDC, backed by its supervising minister, the Minister of Niger Delta Affairs, Godswill Akpabio, accused the Senate of corruption and undue interference in the running of the commission.
The NDDC, three days ago, released a shocking statement which appears to implicate the Chairman of the Senate Committee on the Niger Delta and the NDDC, Peter Nwaoboshi, in N3.6 billion contract fraud in the commission.
The NDDC spokesperson, Charles Odili, in the statement, said Mr Nwaoboshi (Delta North/PDP) used 11 companies as fronts to secure for himself a N3.6 billion contract in September 2016.
“The inventory records show that these items were supplied and received on Senator Nwaoboshi’s business premises and warehouse.
“However, some of the items supplied to Nwaoboshi’s warehouse through his cronies, were later resold to the Delta state government, while the others were sold to other states through contracts awarded to him,” Mr Odili stated.
Mr Nwaoboshi denied the allegations, saying he did not have any relationship with the companies mentioned by the NDDC.
The senator told PREMIUM TIMES that the NDDC’s statement was merely an attempt to distract the public from the National Assembly’s probe.
“It is a desperate attempt to save Akpabio,” said Mr Nwaoboshi, who is not a member of the ad-hoc committee probing the NDDC. He had earlier released to the public a letter by Mr Akapbio requesting that N500 million worth of projects should be inserted for him in the 2017 NDDC budget.
Mr Akpabio wrote the letter when he was a senator representing Akwa Ibom North-West District and the Senate Minority Leader.
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