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Senate probes NDDC over alleged N40bn fraud 

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Senate probes NDDC over alleged N40bn fraud 

Senate on Tuesday resolved to investigate the N40billion allegedly squandered in the last three months by the Interim Management Committee, IMC of the Niger Delta Development Commission, NDDC.

Subsequently, the upper legislative chamber set up an ad-hoc committee to be chaired by Senator Olubunmi Adetunmbi (APC Ekiti North) to look into the financial transactions carried out by the IMC on behalf of the commission within the period and report back in four weeks.

The resolutions were sequel to a motion titled: “Urgent need to investigate alleged financial recklessness in the Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC) sponsored by Senator George Sekibo (PDP Rivers East) during plenary.

Sekibo had in the motion alleged that reports from the commission indicate that the state of financial recklessness must be investigated and stopped.

According to him, while  President Muhamnadu Buhari set up the IMC to coordinate forensic auditing of financial transactions carried out by the now  dissolved board of the commission, reports emanating from IMC, indicate financial recklessness on its part too.

He added that aside financial recklessness being allegedly carried out by the IMC,  it is also said to be indulging in arbitrary sack of the management staff of the commission.

“While President Buhari ‘s action of setting up an IMC and the forensic audit may have been conceived to forestall the financial recklessness of the commission and reposition it for fast tracking of the development of the region, the IMC has been more bedevilled with the same financial misuse, misapplication, misappropriation or outright fraud in the management of the funds of the commission.

“Within the last three months, the commission has spent over N40billion of the commission ‘s fund without recourse to established processes of funds disbursements, which has open up further suspicion among stakeholders of the Niger Delta region.

“IMC is also alleged to be arbitrarily using  executive power for wrongful sacking of management staff of the commission without recourse to established civil service rules and practices.

“Consequently, the IMC has lost credibility and seen as a financial conduit pipe based on opinions of stakeholders in the region, which therefore urgently calls for an intervention by the Senate of the Federal Republic of Nigeria to install confidence in the people for whom the commission was primarily established.

“In particular, Section 88 of the constitution (as amended), has conferred on the National Assembly and in this case the Senate, to ascertain whether the sum of N40billion so appropriated and in the coffers of the commission, has been properly applied judiciously and appropriately to programmes meant for,” he explained.

Though during general debate on the motion, Senators Bala Ibn Na”Allah (APC Kebbi South) and Ajibola Basiru (APC Osun Central ) through different constitutional point of orders, tried to stop it from sailing through, but the Senate President, Ahmad Lawan ruled and many other lawmakers pushed it through.

Na’Allah and Basiru kicked against  the motion on the grounds of being  driven by allegations.

But Lawan in his ruling countered by saying at the level of investigation, the veracity or otherwise of the allegations would be established.

Members of the ad-hoc committee are Senators Jika Dauda Haliru (APC Bauchi Central), Mohammed Tanko Al-Makura (APC Nasarawa South), Abdulfatai Buhari (APC Oyo North), Chukwuka Utazi (PDP Enugu North), Ibrahim Hadeija (APC Jigawa North-East ) and  Degi-Eremienyo Biobarakuma Wangaha (APC Bayelsa East)

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