The Nigerian Senate in a Session

NDDC: Senate demands IMC to refund N4.923bn alleged payments to staff, contractors

*No correlation between development of Niger Delta communities and cash invested in the zone thus far ─Senators

*President Muhammadu Buhari urged to dissolve NDDC’s Interim Management Committee, set up a board for Commission

Isola Moses | ConsumerConnect

Perhaps in order to reasonably assuage the pains of the long-suffering Niger Delta people in Nigeria, the Senate has called on the Interim Management Committee (IMC) of the Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC) to refund N4.923billion purported illegal payments made to staff and contractors in breach of the procurement due process.

The Upper Legislative Chamber of the National Assembly (NASS) Thursday, July 23 ordered that the said refund should be made into the NDDC’s Account with immediate effect.

Agency report says the resolution of the Senate is sequel to the adoption of recommendations of the Senate Ad Hoc Committee, investigating the alleged misappropriation of N40 billion by the current IMC leadership of the Commission.

Sen. Adetumbi from Ekiti State and Chairman, Senate Ad Hoc Committee, presented the recommendation of the committee to the Senate.

Report indicates that a breakdown of the refund included overseas travel to the United Kingdom N85.7million, scholarship grants N105.5 million, Union Members’ trip to Italy N164.2 million.

Other refunds the Senate demands to be made into the NDDC’s Account by the IMC are: payment made for Lassa Fever Kit, N1.96 billion; payment for Public Communication valued at N1.12 billion, and COVID-19 fund, N1.49 billion.

The Senators as well approved the recommendation that all expenditures on historical contracts and obligations such as hotels, court judgment among others be refunded, as the payments were not provided for in the budget.

As part of its approved recommendations, the Senate has directed that henceforth, the NDDC should report directly to President Muhammadu Buhari.

The Red Chamber also recommended that President Buhari should dissolve the IMC and set up a board for the commission.

The oversight of the forensic audit should be transferred to the Office of the Auditor-General of the Federation, to ensure transparency.

It also urged the Federal Government to appoint a renowned auditor to supervise the forensic audit.

The strengthening of the NDDC’s procurement department through appropriate staff engagement, by appointing staff with procurement chartered status, improved staff training among other policies on procurement process is also recommended by the Senate.

The Chamber also suggested a review of the Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) of the NDDC, adding, it is difficult to find a correlation between the Niger Delta community development and the cash invested in the zone.

The Senate declared that the continued cash injection in the Niger Delta has not worked under the various IMCs, stated the report.

The Upper Legislative Chamber therefore, urged the government to intervene by stepping down the IMC and properly constitute a Board with a specific mandate to address the pains of the Niger Delta people.

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