By Emmanuel Elebeke
A Civil Society Organisation (CSO), the Act for Positive Transformation Initiative, has again raised alarm over alleged illegally expenditures in the Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC).
The CSO raised the alarm in a letter signed by the Head, Directorate of Research, Planning, and Programmes, addressed to the Minister, Federal Ministry of Niger Delta Affairs, Sen. Godswill Akpabio.
The letter was titled ‘On-the-spot-alert on a fresh round of looting and illegal expenditure in the NDDC.’ was made available to Vanguard was copied to the Secretary to the Government of the Federation, the Chief of Staff to the President, the Minister of Finance, and the Attorney General of the Federation.
It read: “A fresh plot has, again, been uncovered to loot the commission’s resources this week via another round of illegal extra-budgetary expenditure.
“Top officials of the commission were sighted at the commission’s office on Saturday, 12th of September, preparing and backdating documents to fast track this set of payments beginning from Monday 14th.
“Your Excellency, we hereby call upon you and your Ministry to immediately halt this new round of looting”.
Kolawole recalled that the Federal Executive Council (FEC) presided over by President Muhammadu Buhari on August 26, 2020, approved the sum of 722 million Naira for forensic auditors.
He said that the auditors were cleared on the same day to audit the Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC)
He further recalled that while Akpabio was speaking to journalists at the end of the meeting, he informed the public that the approved payment shall be funded by the Presidency.
He said Akpabio further explained that the reason was that the commission’s budget had not been approved by the National Assembly, hence cannot make the capital expenditure.
According to Kolawole, this is a clear indication that the FEC shall not support any unlawful and illegal expenditure at the commission as the law is clear on extra-budgetary expenditure.
“Against the position of FEC and the President which you communicated to the Press, the NDDC under you has sustained its illegal spending against the law, with impunity.
“Records show that extra-budgetary expenditure under your supervision has hit Thirty (30) Billion Naira in just three months.
“It is on record that about N140 billion has so far been spent under your supervision as the supervising Minister over the Commission.
“It is also instructive to note that payment for desilting against the instruction of Mr President has dominated the recent illegal expenditure,” he added.
Kolawole said that illegal recruitment was ongoing in the commission and that about 105 contract staff were recently employed, illegally, without aptitude tests or interviews.
He said, though the Commission attempted to deny, the CSO was awaiting the September payroll to fish them out and to act on an official documents that cannot be disputed.
According to him, names like Aniema Akpabio, Bassey Innemesit, Patience Akpan are very familiar with the minister and are beneficiaries of the unlawful recruitment.
“It is only fair to halt this illegal employment and ensure due process is followed in any recruitment where proper gap analysis and competence assessment shall be prioritized,” he added.