Niger Delta Senators Deny Any Knowledge of Funds
By Henry Umoru
ABUJA- THE Senate has given the immediate past Managing Director of the dissolved Interim Management Committee (IMC) of the Niger Delta Development Commission, NDDC, Professor Kemebradikumo Pondei, and his board members the last warning to appear before.
According to the Senate, the summon is for Pondei to appear before the Senator Patrick Akinyelure, Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, Ondo Central led Senate Committee on Ethics, Privileges and Public Petitions and explain how the N6.25 billion Covid-19 Palliative released by the Federal Government through its Presidential Palliative Distribution Committee for Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC) was disbursed in the region.
This is the fourth of such summons by the Senate panel inviting the top executive of the NDDC to appear before it without success as officials of the interventionist agency failed to appear again yesterday, 4th February, 2021 after failing to appear in all previous hearings.
Speaking with Journalists yesterday in Abuja, the Chairman of the Senate Committee, Ayo Akinyelure accused NDDC of scheming to dodge Senate investigation into the matter.
The Senate Panel shifted further hearing on the matter to the 22nd of February, thereby issuing its last warning to Pondei and his associates to appear before it or face the full wrath of the law.
The action of the Senate is sequel to a petition by former Chairman, NDDC Covid-19 Palliative Committee, Chief Sobomabo Jackrich, alleging misappropriation and diversion of the palliative funds.
The petitioner is also asking among other things that the IMC should return all monies it has received from the Federal Government; including remittances from the International Oil Companies (IOCs) back into the government coffer.
Jackrich in his petition revealed that as the Chairman of the Presidential Committee, he was completely sidelined as the IMC hijacked the process to perpetuate the fraud after he insisted on transparency and that due process must be followed.
He said, ” As Chairman of the Covid-19 Palliative Distribution Committee of the NDDC, I testify that N6.25 billion approved by Mr. President for palliatives for the Niger-Delta through the NDDC cannot be accounted for and is allegedly embezzled by Professor Daniel Pondei- led IMC.”
According to him, to cover up their deceit, the IMC staged managed the distribution of a few expired food items and old medical equipment from the NDDC warehouse to deceive the unsuspecting members of the public and mislead the President.
Meanwhile, Senators from the Niger-Delta region have denied knowledge of how N6.25 billion Covid-19 Palliative was released by the Federal Government through its Presidential Palliative Distribution Committee.
According to Akinyelure, as a Senator from one of the nine Niger-Delta States (from Ondo State), he and his colleagues do not know how the said N6.25 billion Covid-19 Palliative funds were disbursed in the region.
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