The management of the Niger Delta Development Commission, NDDC, is under fresh probe as the Senate said it had received fresh allegations against it.
The red chamber said the new financial infractions were not captured in the list of the allegation of N40bn reckless spending which a whistle-blower brought against the NDDC to the parliament recently.
The Senate said the fresh probe would be handled by the Senate Committee on Ethics, Privileges and Public Petitions, The PUNCH reports.
The chairman of the panel, Senator Ayo Akinyelure, confirmed the development in an exclusive interview with our correspondent in Abuja.
He explained that the acting Managing Director of the NDDC, Kemebradikumo Pondei, would be summoned after the Senate panel had concluded its public hearing involving the United Bank for Africa Plc and the liquidators of the defunct NITEL/EMTEL, which would take place next Wednesday.
Akinyelure said, “There is a petition that has just been sent to my committee by the leadership of the Senate.
“I received it on Tuesday. It is about the alleged fraudulent practices of the acting Managing Director of the Niger Delta Development Commission.
“I will take my time to study the petition. Our committee will invite him as soon as we conclude hearing on the case involving the UBA which is before our committee.
“We will invite the MD to come and explain to the whole world how he allegedly misappropriated billions of funds as the head of the agency.”
Akinyelure, who did not give further clue into the content of the petition against Pondei, however, said the embattled MD would also answer questions about allegations of contract scam against some federal lawmakers.
The senator from Ondo Central said, “He (Pondei) will also tell Nigerians about the details of the senators who allegedly took gratification and contracts from him.
Investigations by THE PUNCH revealed that the fresh petition against Pondei was sent to the leadership of the Senate after the chamber’s ad hoc panel had concluded its probe of the NDDC and even submitted its report.
The report of the panel, led by Senator Olubunmi Adetunmbi, was considered and approved by the upper chamber before proceeding on its annual vacation last week.
The Chairman, Senate Committee on Niger Delta Affairs, Senator Peter Nwaoboshi, however, gave a hint about some of the fresh allegations against Pondei in a statement he signed last week.
Nwaoboshi had while reacting to the allegations by the Minister of Niger Delta Affairs, Senator Godswill Akpabio, wondered while the former Akwa Ibom State governor chose to blackmail lawmakers instead of checking the alleged daily reckless spending in the NDDC despite its probe by the National Assembly.
Nwaoboshi alleged that the Interim Management Committee of the NDDC under Pondei paid N39.4m to a media outfit, Messrs Clear Point Consultancy, to defend media attacks against Akpabio.
He alleged that Pondei’s IMC was using taxpayers’ money to launder Akpabio’s image.
The senator also said the IMC was allegedly paying N51.8m every month as an allowance to Pondei while other members of the team were allegedly being paid N18m monthly.
Nwaoboshi said, “The above revelations are just a tip of the mind-boggling and reckless payments running into billions of naira by the IMC members to themselves and expended with the approval of Mr Akpabio.”