The Minister of Niger Delta Affairs, Chief Godswill Akpabio, has denied the allegations the Interim Management Committee of the Niger Delta Development Commission misappropriated N40 Billion.
The Senate on Tuesday set up an ad hoc committee headed by Senator Olubunmi Adetunbi to investigate the financial transactions carried out by the IMC on behalf of the commission in the last three months.
But Akpabio, in a statement by his Chief Press Secretary, Anietie Ekong, on Friday, dismissed the allegations, saying the current administration of the NDDC had not awarded any contracts.
The statement said, “The attention of the Minister of Niger Delta Affairs, Godswill Akpabio, has been drawn to sensational headlines about an alleged N40bn corruption in the NDDC. We wish to state categorically that under the supervision of Akpabio there has been no corruption in the NDDC.
“It is obvious that there have been an upsurge in attacks on the commission, the IMC and the minister through spurious and unsubstantiated allegations since the commencement of forensic audit of the commission. Unfortunately, these phantom allegations have found their way into the hallowed chamber of the National Assembly.
“In response to the campaign of calumny, the commission had explained that the IMC has only approved the total payment of N18bn for contractual claims.”
According to Ekong, payments to contractors are all payments for contracts awarded by previous administrations, especially the payment for contracts below N50m.
He added, “The present management has not awarded any single contract. So where is the bogey N40bn coming from? It is instructive that the commission under the supervision of Akpabio has devised a strategy by which only duly verified and inspected contracts with photo and video evidence are recommended and approved for payment.
“The IMC has been very prudent in managing the affairs of the interventionist agency. The interest of Akpabio has been to ensure that the NDDC completes its headquarters building started since the days of the defunct Oil Minerals Producing Areas Development Commission, the contract of which was awarded with the approval of the Federal Executive Council many years before Akpabio became the Minister of Niger Delta Affairs.
“Following the recent presidential approval, the NDDC is also providing intervention support to complement the efforts of federal and state governments against further spread of COVID-19 in the nine Niger Delta states.”
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