OrderPaperToday – Former officials of the Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC) failed to show up on Thursday for an investigative hearing conducted by the Senate committee on Ethics, Privileges and Public Petition.
The probe was sequel to a petition submitted by former Chairman, NDDC Covid-19 Palliative Committee, Chief Sobomabo Jackrich, who alleged misappropriation of palliative funds worth N6.25 billion.
The funds were said to be released by the Federal Government through its Presidential Palliative Distribution Committee for NDDC for it to be disbursed in the region.
The petitioner stated that even as the chairman of the committee, he was completely sidelined.
He further accused the immediate past Interim Management Committee (IMC), led by Prof. Daniel Pondei, of hijacking the process even after he insisted on transparency.
Jackrich said: “As Chairman of the Covid-19 Palliative Distribution Committee of the NDDC, I testify that N6.25 billion approved by Mr. President for palliatives for the Niger-Delta through the NDDC cannot be accounted for and is allegedly embezzled by Professor Daniel Pondei- led IMC”.
According to the petitioner, the IMC manipulated the distribution using expired food items and old medical equipment from NDDC warehouse.
Consequently, he requested that the dissolved IMC return all monies it received from the Federal Government; including remittances from the International Oil Companies (IOCs) into government coffers.
Recall that in 2020, the red chamber investigated Pondei-led IMC after it was accused of mismanaging funds.
Speaking with journalists after the adjournment of the hearing, the Chairman of the Senate Committee, Ayo Akinyelure, noted that the former NDDC officials were absent to dodge the hearing.
He also stated that he and his colleagues from the oil producing areas are unaware of the alleged diversion.
The probe was thereafter shifted to the 22nd of February with a warning to officials to appear or face the law.