23 July 2020 by James Itodo…….
The Senate has called on the Interim Management Commitee (IMC) of the Niger Delta Development Commission(NDDC) to refund N4.923 billion payments made to staff and contractors in breach of procurement process.
It said the refund should be made to the Niger Delta Development commission NDDC account with immediate effect .
The call was sequel to the adoption of recommendations of the Senate Ad hoc Committee investigating the alleged misappropriation of N40 billion by the current IMC.
The recommendation of the committee was presented to Senate by the Chairman, Senator Adetunmbi Olubunmi.
A break down of the refund according to the recommendations includes :Overseas Travel to the United Kingdom N85.7million, Scholarship grants N105.5 milliion,Union Members trip to Italy N164.2 million.
Other refund to be made to the NDDC Account by the IMC is payment made for Lassa Fever Kit, N1.96 billion, while payment for Public Communication is N1.12 billion , COVID-19 fund is N1.49 billion.
The Upper legislative Chamber also approved recommendation that all expenditures on historical contracts and obligations like hotels, court judgement among others should be refunded as the payments are not provided for in the budget.
The recommendations approved by Senate also includes that henceforth, the NDDC report directly to President Muhammadu Buhari .
It also recommendeded that the President dissolve the IMC and set up a board for the commission.
Senate also recommended that oversight of the forensic audit should be transferred to the Office of the Auditor General of the Federation to ensure transparency.
It urged the federal government to appoint a renowned auditor to supervise the forensic audit.
It also recommended the need for NDDC to strengthen its procurement department through appropriate staff engagement by appointing staff with procurement chartered status, improve staff training , among other policies on procurement process.
It also recommended for a review of the corporate social responsibility of the NDDC.
Senate said it was difficult to find correlation between Niger Delta community development and cash invested in the zone.
It said continued cash injection in the Niger Delta issue has not worked under the various IMCs.
It said there was need for Federal Government to intervene by stepping down the IMC and properly consititute a board with specific mandate to address the pains of Niger Delta people.