Prof. Kemebradikumo Pondei, Acting Managing Director, NDDC

Alleged N40bn Fraud: We used N1.5bn as our COVID-19 palliative, says Ag. MD

*Audit report reveals how the money was shared in the agency  

Isola Moses | ConsumerConnect

In order to really ‘cushion’ the harsh effects of the novel Coronavirus disease (COVID-19) on the management and staff of the government agency, Prof. Kemebradikumo Pondei, Acting Managing Director (MD) of the Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC) has disclosed that the Commission disbursed a sum of N1.5billion as COVID-19 relief fund for the personnel.

Prof. Pondei stated this at the investigative hearing on the N40billion fraud allegation against the Commission in the National Assembly (NASS).

The NDDC Managing Director and other delegates from the Commission appeared before the Senate Committee for the hearing Thursday, July 9.

Recall that the Senate May 5, 2020, had set up a seven-man ad-hoc committee to investigate the alleged financial recklessness of the Interim Management Committee of the NDDC.

According to report, the lawmakers had frowned on the spending at the NDDC, noting that the Commission spent N40billion without due process in the last three months.

Nonetheless, Pondei explaining how the money was spent, said staff of the agency had to be catered for at the outbreak of the pandemic as well.

POndei said: “We used it (N1.5bn) to take care of ourselves. We are NDDC; we need to take care of ourselves, too.”

Senator Olubunmi Adetunmbi, Chairman of the Committee, quoting from the audit report, said that the NDDC spent N3.1billion as COVID-19 funds between October 2019 and May 2020.

“N10million was paid to one person, N7million to two people, N5million to three people, 148 people took N3million each, 157 people got N1.5million each, 497 people got N1million each and 464 people were paid N600,000 each,” disclosed Adetunmbi.

He added that another N475million was given to the Police to purchase nose masks and hand sanitisers.

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