By Chris Ochayi
The Ministry of Niger Delta Affairs has distanced itself from query allegedly issued to the Niger Delta Development Commission, NDDC, over allegations of a N5.5bn contract scam involving Signora Concepts Services Ltd.
The query was purportedly issued by the Minister of Niger Delta Affairs, Senator Godswill Akpabio, to the Interim Management Committee of the NDDC demanding explanation on the alleged contract scam.
But the Permanent Secretary of the ministry, Olusade Adesola, said in a statement on Monday, in Abuja, that an internal probe had proved that no fake or unauthorised transaction was conducted.
According to him, “The attention of the Ministry has been drawn to an alleged letter circulating on social media purporting that the Honourable Minister, Senator (Dr.) Godswill O. Akpabio, CON directed the issuance of a letter/query to the Interim Management Committee of the NDDC demanding explanation on the allegation of a contract scam of N5.5 billion issued by the Commission to Signora Concepts Services Ltd within three days.
“It is to be noted that the Niger Delta Development Commission had in its various publications in the media denied without equivocation the alleged contract, stating that the ‘document is simply fake or at best unauthorised.’
“The company, Signora Concepts Services Ltd, also issued a statement that it did not receive any payment for the purported COVID-19 contract before the NDDC withdrew the said contract paper it described as either fake or unauthorised.”
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He said “the ministry is satisfied with the explanations provided by the commission and the company,” and had gone ahead to confirm that “no single payment was made on account of the ‘fake or unauthorised’ transaction.”
“Wherein lies the use of the words ‘scam’ or ‘fraud’? Therefore, the ministry has no intention or need to demand any further explanation from the NDDC.
“In the light of the above, the purported letter/query said to have been issued by the ministry to the NDDC was only a figment of the imagination of the mischief-makers who, in their trepidation on witnessing the takeoff of the forensic audit of the NDDC directed by His Excellency, President Muhammadu Buhari, GCFR, have persisted in their campaign of calumny and would stop at nothing to stultify the exercise, including the vilification and mudsling of the person of the honourable minister and the IMC of the NDDC.”
The permanent secretary underscored that the ministry had not issued or authorised the issuance of any query/letter demanding answers from the IMC of the NDDC on any of its well-intentioned actions so far.”
“The Honourable Minister, Permanent Secretary and Management of the MNDA, therefore, disassociate the entire ministry from the said fallacious letter/query in all respects.
Adesola, however, advised the general public to exercise great caution in receiving correspondences concerning the Ministry and its parastatals from sources other than the Ministry of Niger Delta Affairs.