Senate asks Pondei-led IMC to refund N4.923bn

July 24, 2020
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THE Senate ad hoc committee set up to investigate alleged financial recklessness of the interim management committee of the Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC) has asked the Professor Daniel Pondei-led IMC to refund the sum of N4.932 billion to the account of the NDDC.

The money was paid to members of staff of the commission and contractors as COVID-19 relief, procurement for Lassa fever kit, amongst others. Chairman of the ad hoc committee, Olubunmi Ayodeji Adetumbi, read the report before his colleagues in the Red Chamber on Thursday.

The Senate resolution to investigate the IMC of the NDDC followed allegations of mismanagement of over N40 billion by the agency. Part of the 11 recommendations of the ad hoc committee, which was later amended to 17, was that the Pondei-led IMC should refund the money to the commission’s coffers.

The breakdown of the expenditure revealed that N85.7 million, N105.5 million and N164.2 million were spent on overseas travels, scholarship grants and union members’ trip to Italy respectively. Other funds to be refunded are N1.96  billion, N1.12 billion and N1.49 billion for  Lassa fever kit, public communication and COVID-19relief.

The Senate also resolved that “all expenditures on historical contracts and obligations, including hotel accommodation, court judgment, should be refunded by the IMC, as payments are not provided for in the budget.”

The committee equally recommended the return of the supervision of the NDDC to the Presidency, dissolution of the  IMC and that President Muhammadu Buhari should appoint a substantive board for the agency. The ad hoc committee also recommended that the assertion that certain lawmaker benefitted from contracts the award should be investigated by the Ethics and Privileges Committee of the Senate and should report back in four weeks.

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