Professor Kemebradikumo Pondei, Acting Managing Director, NDDC

National Assembly wants to scuttle forensic audit in NDDC, says Ag. MD

* Alleges NASS members approved over 500 phony projects in NDDC Budget in 2019

* We are in support of forensic audit because truth must be laid bare ─House Chair on NDDC

Alexander Davis | ConsumerConnect

The leadership of the Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC), headed by Prof. Kemebradikumo Pondei, Acting Managing Director of the Commission, has indicted the National Assembly of working against the forensic audit President recently ordered in the NDDC.

Charles Odili, Head of Corporate Affairs at the Commission, in a statement said Prof. Pondei preferred the allegation against the Federal lawmakers Tuesday, May 26.

The Acting Managing Director had alleged that the ongoing probe being by the National Assembly was distracting the Commission from focusing on the forensic audit which all stakeholders, including governors of the nine Niger Delta States, agreed with  President Buhari as the way forward for the Commission.

“The probe being trumpeted by the National Assembly is not for an altruistic reason but an attempt by some members to arm-twist the Interim Management Committee,” Pondei stated.

“We have faced so much pressure from some members of the National Assembly not to send certain files to forensic auditors.

“We fear that this will compromise the integrity of the exercise and have refused to do their bidding.”

Nonetheless, in his counterclaim, it was gathered that Hon. Olubunmi Tunji-Ojo, Chairman, House of Representatives Committee on NDDC, dismissed the allegations levelled against the NASS members.

Tunji-Ojo stated that both the Senate and the House of Representatives are in full support of the forensic audit ordered by President Buhari, reports Daily Trust.

The lawmaker said: “To indicate our support, when the 2019 Budget was brought; look at this budget proposal, the President approved forensic in October last year, this budget was brought to the National Assembly in November, precisely November 26, a month after the approval of the President for forensic.

“Yet, they did not put forensic as a budget line in the budget; they have no financial provision for forensic.”

According to the Chairman, House of Representatives Committee on NDDC, “it took the National Assembly, in line with its power of appropriation, to be able to provide funds for the forensic.

“This is it in the budget, precisely serial No: 179 under regional for the forensic.

“The President approved the sum of N2.5 billion for the forensic and we budgeted for the provision of N2.5 billion in line with what the President approved.

“And we made provision for N1.250 billion in 2019 budget of which they have already paid some because we have records from CBN and others.

“How else as a Legislature, as a responsible and responsive arm of government can we cooperate and show support for the forensic other than making these funds available?

Tunji-Ojo further said that “if we are not in support, we wouldn’t have made the funds available.

“Let me say emphatically, we are in support of forensic (audit) because the truth must be laid bare, and what we are saying in the process of doing forensic if there are allegations, you should be able to defend yourself and not hide under forensic as if forensic has granted you immunity.

“Forensic is not a medium of granting immunity and that’s all we are saying.

According to him, “we have not indicted anybody. All these things are still allegations against the IMC. There is no resolution of the House against them yet.

“All we are saying is there are allegations; come and defend yourself in line with the principle of fair hearing.”

Meanwhile, Prof. Pondei has alleged that NASS padded the NDDC budget in 2019 with about 500 non-existing projects.

Report says he disclosed this speaking with journalists in Port Harcourt, Rivers State capital, Tuesday, May 26.

According to the Professor of Medicine, a huge amount of money was appropriated for bogus projects by the Federal lawmakers.

He said this while reacting to accusations of corruption preferred against the Commission’s interim Management Committee.

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