As the corruption allegation against the Interim Management Committee of the Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC), rages on, the commission has claimed that it spent N81.5 billion within 7 months (October 2019 to May 2020) as against media reports that the money was spent within 6 months (January 2020 to July 2020).
The disclosure was made in a tweet post by the Niger Delta Development Commission on its official twitter handle on Sunday, July 19, 2020.
The commission, while dismissing the media report as false, claims that according to the information from the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), the N81.5 billion was actually spent by the 2 Interim Management Committees of the NDDC between October 29, 2019, and May 31, 2020.
The tweet post from NDDC says, ‘’It’s false to say NDDC mismanaged N81.5 billion between January and July 2020. Truth is that sum was spent by two Interim Management Committees of the NDDC between October 29, 2019, and May 31, 2020, according to the Central Bank of Nigeria.’’
‘’We are appalled that TVC could descend to propagating falsehood. We hereby demand that TVC recants, otherwise we’ll be compelled to take their misdemeanour up with the National Broadcasting Commission.’’
It's false to say #NDDC mismanaged N81.5 billion between Jan & July 2020. Truth is that
sum was spent
by two Interim Management Committees of
the NDDC between October 29,
2019 and May 31, 2020, according to the #CentralBankofNigeria.
— Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC) (@NDDCOnline) July 19, 2020
It can be recalled that in May 2020, the Senate and the House of Representatives resolved to investigate members of the Interim Management Committee of the NDDC over allegations of mismanaging N40 billion within 3 months. The 2 chambers subsequently set up ad-hoc probe panels to look into the financial transactions of the IMC.
However, in the course of the sitting, Nairametrics reported that the acting Managing Director of NDDC, Prof. Kemebradikumo Pondei and his team walked out on the investigative panel of the House of Representatives, accusing the Chairman of the committee, Olubunmi Tunji-Ojo of being biased and corrupt.
Tunji-Ojo, while speaking said that documents from the CBN and the Office of the Accountant General of the Federation that were presented to the investigative panel showed that the NDDC had spent N81.5 billion between January 2020 and May 2020.
What this means: The counterclaim by the NDDC that it spent the N81 billion from October 2019 to May 2020 as against the initial media report of between January 2020 and July 2020 can be seen as a strategy by the current Interim Management Committee to divert attention from the main issue of alleged mismanagement of N40 billion levelled against them. The difference in the mentioned periods, which is about a month, appears insignificant to cause any major change in opinion
This is also seen as a clever way of roping in the immediate past acting Managing Director, Joy Nunieh, who testified against and has been very critical of the Minister for Niger Delta Affairs, Senator Godwill Akpabio and the current management of NNDC. She was the head of NDDC from October 2019 to around February 2020, which is part of the period under review.