The Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC) has expressed the readiness of its Interim Management Committee (IMC) led by Prof. Keme Pondei to appear before the National Assembly following an allegation of N40bn scam.
The commission’s Director, Corporate Affairs, Charles Odili, in statement in Port Harcourt on Friday, said though there was no N40bn fraud in the commission, the IMC and the Minister of Niger Delta Affairs, Senator Godswill Akpabio, were ready to attend any public hearing on the matter.
He said: “The detractors of the commission are now hiding under the resolution of the National Assembly to trash the reputation of the Interim Management Committee, IMC. We wish to state that there is no N40 billion fraud in NDDC.
“As stated last week, the total sum received by the IMC is N33 billion, out of which it has spent N22 billion. The expenditure includes payment of staff salaries, service providers’ debts and contractual debts of N50 million and below.
“Can N40 billion be stolen when it did not exist? Is the payment of staff salaries and benefits, an act of corruption? Should poor helpless contractors who worked for the commission and were being owed for more than five years not be paid sums as low as N1 million?
“The commission concedes that the National Assembly has a constitutional right to investigate its operations, if and when it deems it necessary. However, we find allegations, which have no substance and serve no purpose other than generating adverse newspaper headlines unhelpful.
“These baseless allegations pose grave threat to the success of the forensic audit of the NDDC, directed by President Muhammadu Buhari, following widespread request by stakeholders, including Governors of the Niger Delta States.”