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No N40bn missing from NDDC —Akpabio

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Campaigns against Akpabio are aimed at causing disaffection in our party - A’Ibom APC

The minister of Niger Delta Affairs, Godswill Akpabio has denied that about N40 billion was missing from the Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC).

He stated this at the ongoing probe by the House of Representatives into the alleged mismanagement of finances at the interventionist agency.

Part of the allegation levelled against the commission was that N40 billion was missing and could not be accounted for by the management.

But Akpabio, speaking at the panel said that “N40 billion cannot go missing from the account of the NDDC because it is domiciled at the CBN. Before this administration, NDDC had over 300 bank accounts with various commercial banks.”

Insisting that no money was missing, Akpabio said it was possible for such an amount of money to be missing during the period in the past when over 300 accounts were run by the NDDC, “but with the TSA used by NDDC under the current administration, it is not possible for such amount to get missing,” he maintained.

The minster at the panel denied the claim by the former NDDC MD, Joi Nunieh that he coerced her to take an oath. He noted that Nunieh spent N23 billion while in office and that she was relieved of her duty due to insubordination.

He said since his appointment as the Minister of Niger Delta affairs that he had awarded only three contracts in the NDDC, adding that he had never received any money or executed a contract from the agency.

Noting that Ernst and Young had been approved by the Bureau of Public Procurement for the forensic audit of the NDDC, Akpabio denied claims that he had hijacked ongoing forensic audit of the commission.

He said that the N1.5 billion COVID-19 allowance that the commission paid to its staff was equally received by the retired staff of the commission.

According to Akpabio, the NDDC has two sources of funding which are the statutory transfers by the Federal Government and the 23 per cent accrual from oil companies.

When asked by House spokesperson, Benjamin Kalu, if he has ever usurped the powers of the MD of the NDDC, Akpabio said he wades into the running of the commission any time things were not going as they ought in the agency.

Read also: 60% of NDDC contracts awarded to National Assembly members —Akpabio

The minister said that in one day at a management meeting that some management members were paid N49 million each, and a total of N4.2 billion was withdrawn in a single day. He added that the details of that development had been submitted to the forensic audit committee.

Before the grilling of Akpabio by the panel, Speaker Femi Gbajabiamila and Majority Leader Alhassan Doguwa joined the committee members.

The Speaker apologised for the un-conducive nature of the hall as the air conditioners at the venue were faulty.

“I’m just wearing a two-piece agbada and I can feel the heat. We are sorry for the condition under which you all are.

“This is not an adversarial nor even inquisitory hearing. it’s just a fact-finding hearing,” Gbajabiamila said and left the hall with his entourage, urging the NDDC committee to carry on with the hearing.

Akpabio, as he prepared to present his document, requested that the doors be opened “since the air conditioner has failed.”

Initially, Akpabio requested that the entire probe be conducted afresh since the chairman of the NDDC committee, Rep Tunji Ojo had recused himself.

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