Insists he’s still agency’s chairman
By Tordue Salem – Abuja
Embattled head of the Project Development Institute (PRODA), an agency under the Ministry of Science and Technology, Enugu State, Comrade Daniel Onje, has threatened to decline an invitation to an investigative hearing at the House of Representatives.
Mr Onje, insists, he must be addressed as Chairman of PRODA before he will appear to answer questions by the lawmakers at the hearing.
A letter of invitation to him by the House Committee on Public Procurement and made available to Vanguard, addresses him as “Former Chairman”.
Onje, was indicted by the Committee for alleged involvement in the forgery of a letter head of PRODA and interference with procurement processes, besides claims by the ministry of science and Technology, he was suspended as the head of the agency’s board.
Mr Onje, who strongly denied the allegations in a chat with House correspondents in Abuja, said “at no time, was I suspended as Chairman of PRODA; I’m still the Chairman and even a letter by the Committee (of the House), inviting me for the hearing, addressed me as such”.
Onje said: “I have already briefed my lawyers and has written to the Speaker of the House of Representatives, Hon Femi Gbajabiamila, telling him to at the next plenary(Tuesday next week), retract the claims that I was removed as Chairman of the Board of PRODA, or I will go to court”.
He also stressed that “My appointment is at instance and discretion of the President and not the National Assembly, so only the Presidency can remove me”.
He also denied shunning the invitation of the Committee to the inquest, stressing that he had earlier asked members for an extension of time.
While declaring the inquest open last week, the Speaker of the House, Femi Gbajabiamila, said “it is hoped that the resolution reached at the end of this public hearing, will be a replica of the wishes of the stakeholders, but in consonance with the wishes of the public”.
Earlier in his commencement speech, Chairman of the panel, Rep. Nasir Ahmed(APC-Kano), disclosed that the committee’s task, is the “Investigation of the Procurement Deception, Staff Victimization and Ongoing Management Problem In Project Development Institute(PRODA), Enugu under the Federal Ministry of Science and Technology “.
He however said “I am actually shocked, that they have refused to appear before us. With or without them, the investigation will continue and we will do a thorough job”.