Days after Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC) acting Managing Director, Prof. Kemebradikumo Pondei, slumped at a public hearing, the Senate ad-hoc committee investigating the commission alleged that NDDC unlawfully spent N1.3 trillion within four years on staff allowances, overseas travel, and others.
The committee stated that the funds were spent between June 1st, 2015, and May 31, 2019. by NDDC without any recourse to its annual budget within the period.
These allegations were made during the presentation of its investigative report before the Senate by the committee chairman, Olubunmi Adetunmbi.
Adetunmbi stated that the committee discovered that the expenses made by NDDC within the period under review were extra-budgetary.
He added that the committee observed process errors and infractions, as well as substantial payments, were made to staff in the form of unjustifiable allowances worth N1.3 trillion.
According to the committee chairman, NDDC also paid N4.9 billion to staff for numerous allowances including COVID-19 relief, tour duty allowances, overseas travel, and international scholarships.
The committee chair alleged that the funds for overseas travel and scholarship were released by NDDC during the lockdown when there was a cessation of flights abroad.
Adetunmbi further stated that the ministry of Niger Delta was culpable and did not perform its responsibility of supervising NDDC as stated in its mandate.
She noted that financial record of the Interim Management Committee (IMC) did not show prudence in their activities and that it should be dissolved.
Adetunmbi, however, raised an alarm over the forensic audit called for by President Buhari, stating that it is at a rudimentary level with the recruitment of the auditors still underway even after eight months.