Niger Delta Affairs Minister, Senator Godswill Akpabio on Monday indicted members of the National Assembly as the major beneficiaries of Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC).
Akpabio who appeared before the House of Representatives Committee on Niger Delta in Abuja, cleared himself of allegations of corruption leveled against him by former acting MD of NDDC, Ms Joi Nunieh.
He said: “Who are the greatest beneficiaries? It’s you people now…because if you look at your chairman…
“Are you asking me the benefits to National Assembly? I just told you that we have records to show that most of the contracts of NDDC are given to members of the National Assembly, but you don’t know about it. The two chairmen can explain to you. Let me explain…”
— Chronicle NG (@chronicle_ng) July 21, 2020
Akpabio however said “no” when asked whether he got a contract while in the Senate.
When asked if he had been usurping the powers of past managing directors and to what extent he had influenced or exercised such powers in the agency, Akpabio said: “If I find out that the MD of NDDC is not acting in the interest of the Niger Delta people, I will intervene. I had to do that once when I heard about the payment for Lassa fever. I called and found out that they had paid N2.9 billion and they were about to pay another N572 million. I had to intervene to say they should not because there was no budget at that time. The contractor wrote to me to approve N572 million.”
A member, Benjamin Kalu, accused the minister of not answering the committee members’ questions, but Akpabio denied, saying “I am giving you the facts.”
Kalu also accused the minister of usurping the functions of the managing director by writing a letter to the Bureau of Public Enterprise (BPP) to secure a letter of no objection.
But, Akpabio said: “It is the NDDC that eventually became the procuring agency. What happened was that we thought the government was going to pay for the forensic audit. But when the approval of the President came out, he said the NDDC should pay and so the letter we wrote was withdrawn.
“We had even gone to the federal tenders’ board. But eventually, the NDDC became the procuring agency.”
Akpabio also denied Ms. Nunieh’s allegations that she got his approval to share N10 billion from NDDC coffers to contractors.