Minister: money paid out in tranches of N49 million
‘Lawmakers are beneficiaries of company’s contracts’
Victor Oluwasegun and Tony Akowe, Abuja
CONTRACT splitting is rampant within the Niger Delta Growth Fee (NDDC), Niger Delta Affairs Minister Godswill Akpabio, stated on Monday.
In accordance with him, the administration of the company indulges in splitting contracts to outwit the minister and evade approval.
Talking earlier than the Home of Representatives Committee on Niger Delta in Abuja, the minister alleged that the company spent “over N4.2 billion in a day in tranches of N49 million.”
The committee is probing how N40 billion was spent by the Interim Administration Committee (IMC).
Akpabio was invited with the Performing Managing Director of the NDDC, Prof. Kemebradikumo Pondei.
Pondei fainted in the course of the proceedings and needed to be revived and brought to the hospital.
The minister additionally informed the panel why Ms. Joi Nunieh was sacked because the company’s managing director. Ms Nunieh, Akpabio stated, was sacked, following a letter from the late Chief of Employees to the President, Mallam Abba Kyari, that she didn’t posses the requisite qualification to occupy a public workplace.
On the allegation that the company had been awarding contracts with out going via the procurement course of and signing of vital paperwork, the minister stated solely three contracts had been awarded since his assumption of workplace.
The minister hinted that in all of the contracting processes, each the technical and monetary bidding processes had been performed earlier than they had been awarded.
Akpabio, nevertheless, claimed that NDDC managers have been splitting contracts to evade his signature, saying he has no palms within the contract funds by the company as authorities regulation doesn’t permit ministers to pay for parastatals’ contracts.
Learn Additionally: Akpabio denies getting N500m NDDC jobs
He stated: “It isn’t my enterprise to approve cost for parastatal. The place they will come to me is when the cost is above N1 billion. Even at that, I need to go to FEC to get approval.”
The minister stated due to contract splitting, a minister might keep for 4 years within the ministry with out figuring out what was happening within the company.
“Over N4.2 billion was spent in a day in tranches of N49 million,” the minister informed the panel.
The administration of the company can award contracts lower than N50 million whereas the board has the brink of N500 million.
On the forensic audit ordered final 12 months by President Muhammadu Buhari, he stated the train was ongoing opposite, to Ms. Nunieh’s declare that the audit had not kicked off.
He added that no one would have anticipated that the account of the company wouldn’t be audited after 19 years of its existence.
Shedding mild on what led to the sack of Ms. Nunieh, Akpabio stated a memo from the late Kyari acknowledged that “the previous NDDC boss doesn’t have an NYSC certificates”, including that the letter fashioned one of many foundation for her removing from workplace.
The opposite motive for her removing from workplace, he stated, was insubordination and her refusal to honour a Federal Government Council (FEC) invitation to supply rationalization on sure actions of the fee.
Akpabio stated:”She ignored the letter written to her by the Everlasting Secretary of the Ministry directing her to attend a gathering of the Federal Government Council (FEC). She felt that she is greater than the minister as a result of she has a much bigger finances.”
In a fairly rowdy session, Akpabio stated N2.5 billion for the forensic audit was included within the 2019 finances of the company.
Amid the shout of ‘Hon. minister, it’s okay’; ‘Hon. minister, off your mic’, the minister saved speaking, even when members urged him to cease his presentation.
Akapabio alleged that lawmakers benfit extra from NDDC contracts.
He stated: “Who’re the best beneficiaries? It’s you individuals now…as a result of if you happen to take a look at your chairman…
“Are you asking me the advantages to Nationwide Meeting? I simply informed you that now we have information to indicate that many of the contracts of NDDC are given to members of the Nationwide Meeting, however you don’t learn about it. The 2 chairmen can clarify to you. Let me clarify…”
Akpabio nevertheless stated “no” when requested whether or not he acquired a contract whereas within the Senate.
When requested if he had been usurping the powers of previous managing administrators and to what extent he had influenced or exercised such powers within the company, Akpabio stated: “If I discover out that the MD of NDDC isn’t appearing within the curiosity of the Niger Delta individuals, I’ll intervene. I had to try this as soon as once I heard concerning the cost for Lassa fever. I known as and came upon that they’d paid N2.9 billion and so they had been about to pay one other N572 million. I needed to intervene to say they need to not as a result of there was no finances at the moment. The contractor wrote to me to approve N572 million.”
A member, Benjamin Kalu, accused the minister of not answering the committee members’ questions, however Akpabio denied, saying “I’m providing you with the information.”
Kalu additionally accused the minister of usurping the capabilities of the managing director by writing a letter to the Bureau of Public Enterprise (BPP) to safe a letter of no objection.
However, Akpabio stated: “It’s the NDDC that ultimately grew to become the procuring company. What occurred was that we thought the federal government was going to pay for the forensic audit. However when the approval of the President got here out, he stated the NDDC ought to pay and so the letter we wrote was withdrawn.
“We had even gone to the federal tenders’ board. However ultimately, the NDDC grew to become the procuring company.”
Akpabio additionally denied Ms. Nunieh’s allegations that she acquired his approval to share N10 billion from NDDC coffers to contractors.