By our reporter| The Minister of Niger Delta Affairs, Sen. Godswill Akpabio, on Thursday, insisted that the two chairmen of the committee probing the Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC), know the lawmakers who received most of the contracts given out by the commission.
Akpabio’s claim was contained in a letter he sent to the house of representatives, and read on the floor by the Speaker, Mr. Femi Gbajabiamila.
The former governor of Akwa Ibom state noted, he never referred to members of the 9th assembly as beneficiaries of the NDDC contracts.
Akpabio who stated that in the 2019 budget there are 19 old contracts amounting to 9 billion naira which the House of Reps chairman on NDDC insisted that the IMC must pay, however, stressed that he will not make the documents public.
Akpabio’s letter read in part, “I hereby respond as follows, the investigating committee refused or neglected to give me the opportunity to explain the reference to ‘most NDDC contracts awarded since 2001 from the records allegedly to members of the national assembly was done without the knowledge of the alleged beneficiaries’. However, the two chairmen of the committees in both chambers have adequate knowledge,” Akpabio said.
“I never referred to members of the ninth national assembly as beneficiaries of NDDC contracts as NDDC is yet to fully implement any NDDC budget since the commencement of the ninth national assembly. In fact, the 2019 budget passed in February and harmonised on 5th of March 2020 was received by the commission in the middle of April 2020 when the same was designated to expire on 31st May 2020.
“However, it is pertinent to point out that the clerk forwarded a letter dated 20th of March without attaching the budget details, this anomaly was brought to the attention of the senate investigating purported financial recklessness by the management of the commission in July 2020.
“It has always been known that the two chairmen of the committees on NDDC in both exhibit unusual influence to the exclusion of committee members and even the management of the NDDC appropriate funds projects after passing of line items at plenary.
“May I assure you, Mr. Speaker, that as a former minority leader in the eight senate of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, I shall forever promote the ideals of the national assembly as an institution, hence I will not make the attached documents public since I obtained the documents from the lead forensic auditors in confidence…
The letter was subsequently handed to the committee on ethics and privileges for further examination, after it was read to members.