The Senate, has stated that it has received fresh fraud allegations against the Management of the Niger Delta Development Commission, NDDC,
The Red Chamber said that the new financial infractions were not captured in the list of the allegation of N40 billion reckless spending, which a whistle-blower brought against the NDDC to the Legislature recently.
The Senate noted that the fresh probe would be handled by the Senate Committee on Ethics, Privileges and Public Petitions.
The Chairman of the Panel, Senator Ayo Akinyelure, confirmed the development in an interview.
He explained that the Acting Managing Director, MD, of the NDDC, Prof. Daniel Pondei, would be summoned after the Senate Panel has concluded its public hearing involving the United Bank for Africa Plc, UBA, and the liquidators of the defunct NITEL/EMTEL, which would take place next Wednesday.
Akinyelure said: “There is a petition that has just been sent to my Committee by the Leadership of the Senate.
“I received it on Tuesday. It is about the alleged fraudulent practices of the Acting Managing Director of the Niger Delta Development Commission.
“I will take my time to study the petition. Our Committee will invite him as soon as we conclude hearing on the case involving the UBA, which is before our Committee.
“We will invite the MD to come and explain to the whole world, how he allegedly misappropriated billions of funds as the Head of the Agency.”
Akinyelure, who did not give further clue into the content of the petition against Prof. Pondei, however, said that the embattled MD would also answer questions about allegations of contract scam against some Federal Lawmakers.
The Senator from Ondo Central said: “He (Pondei) will also tell Nigerians about the details of the Senators who allegedly took gratification and contracts from him.
“He must come and prove it beyond reasonable doubt. No Senator awards contracts. We can only facilitate project allocation for our various Constituencies.
“We do not even know when the Executive would advertise those projects.
“Our job is to ensure that the project is executed. If any Senator or House of Representatives member had gone to the NDDC Management to take money or contract, we will ask the MD to expose such a person.
“The NDDC should stop blackmailing the entire Senate. We have 109 members in the Senate. We are celebrated Nigerians.
“We were millionaires before we came into the Senate. We had jobs. All the allegations against us are fallacy of the highest order.”
Investigations revealed that the fresh petition against Prof. Pondei, was sent to the Leadership of the Senate, after the Chamber’s Ad-hoc Panel had concluded its probe of the NDDC, and even submitted its report.
The report of the Panel, led by Senator Olubunmi Adetunmbi, was considered and approved by the Upper Chamber, before proceeding on its annual vacation, last week.
The Chairman, Senate Committee on Niger Delta Affairs, Senator Peter Nwaoboshi, however, gave a hint about some of the fresh allegations against Prof. Pondei, in a statement he signed last week.
He alleged that the Interim Management Committee, IMC, of the NDDC under Prof. Pondei, paid N39.4 million to a Media outfit, Messrs Clear Point Consultancy, to defend Media attacks against Akpabio.
He alleged that Prof. Pondei’s IMC was using taxpayers’ money to launder Akpabio’s image.
The Senator also said that the IMC was allegedly paying N51.8 million every month, as an allowance to Prof. Pondei, while other members of the team were allegedly being paid N18 million monthly.
His words: “The above revelations are just a tip of the mind-boggling and reckless payments running into billions of naira by the IMC members to themselves, and expended with the approval of Mr. Akpabio.”