Nigeria: Reps Probes Akpabio, Others On Misappropriation

Ogoniland in the Niger Delta region of Nigeria (file photo).

The House of Representatives is to launch a probe into the alleged mismanagement of funds and other unwholesome practices in the Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC) and has summoned the Niger Delta Affairs Minister, Godswill Akpabio and members of the new Interim Management Committee.

Akpabio is former governor of Akwa Ibom.

The House also mandated its Committee on NDDC to investigate all issues relating to misapplication and misappropriation of funds, especially N40bn spent under two months by the Commission and report back to the House.

This was sequel to the resolution passed after debating a motion sponsored by the Deputy House Leader Peter Akpatason at plenary on Tuesday.

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The committee is to conduct a comprehensive investigation into all procurements and financial transactions of the commission for this fiscal year to ascertain compliance with relevant provisions of the law and as well investigate adherence to the Act setting up the Commission, in the layoff and engagement of key management personnel.

The lawmakers resolved to invite the Supervising Minister of the Ministry of Niger Delta Affairs, Godswill Akpabio, the Interim Management Committee to explain to the House the plan of the commission to ameliorate the effect of the present economic situation on the region.

The lawmakers also resolved to probe the commission, following a plethora of petitions and write-ups both in the main stream and social media outlets against the current management of the Commission's imprudent spending of scarce financial resources brought before the House for action.

They stated further that beyond the allegations of financial recklessness, there are also several protest letters and memos from contractors, stakeholders and public interest groups regarding alleged personnel layoffs and replacement with unqualified and inexperienced persons into strategic offices in the Commission thereby hampering efficiency and productivity;

For instance the lawmakers explained that they were alarmed by claims that the Commission slept over N40 billion in two months without corresponding effect on the region.

Disturbing as the expenditure appears, the legislators said 70% of the amount were allegedly made on emergency projects and completion of Commission's headquarters building, without due regard to fiscal governance as provided in the Fiscal Responsibility Act, 2007 and other extant Financial Regulations of the Federal government.

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