The Interim Management Committee, IMC, has on Thursday, been asked by the Senate Ad hoc Committee investigating the misappropriation of funds in the Niger Delta Development Commission, NDDC, to refund all “unjustifiable funds” paid to the staff of the Commission, .
The Panel also stated that henceforth, the NDDC should report directly to President Muhammadu Buhari, and asked that the President dissolves the IMC, and set up a Board for the Commission.
These were part of the recommendations read out by the Chairman of the Committee, Olubunmi Adetumbi, on Thursday.
This comes exactly two weeks after the Acting Managing Director, MD, of the NDDC, Prof. Daniel Pondei, admitted that the Commission spent N1.5 billion for staff at the Commission, as ‘Covid-19 relief funds’.
He made the statement at the investigative hearing on the N40 billion corruption allegation against the Commission.
The Senate had on May 5, set up a 7-man Ad-hoc Committee, to investigate the “financial recklessness” of the IMC.
The Lawmakers said that within the last 3 months, the Commission has spent over N40 billion of the Commission’s funds, “without recourse to established processes of funds disbursement, which has opened up further suspicion among Stakeholders of the Niger Delta Region”.
They also faulted the IMC’s “arbitrary use of Executive power in an alleged wrongful sacking of management staff, without recourse to established Civil Service Rules and practice, with the aim of allegedly concealing the fraudulent financial recklessness they have committed”.
Presenting the report, Adetumbi said that the NDDC spent N4.9 billion on medicals, between October 2019 and May 2020. He also said that the Commission spent billions of naira on “overseas travel allowance”, at a time when countries were on lockdown, and international flights were not operating.
He stated further that the explanations given by the IMC, did not explain the need for “the reckless spending”.
The Committee further recommended that oversight of the forensic audit should be transferred to the Office of the Auditor-General of the Federation, to ensure transparency. It urged the Federal Government to appoint a renowned Auditor to supervise the forensic audit.