The Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC) claims as many as 250 contracts were awarded in just one day to members of the National Assembly.
Both the lower and upper chambers of the National Assembly have in the past few weeks been investigating allegations of financial misappropriation in the commission.
The Minister of Niger Delta, Godswill Akpabio, has also appeared before the House Committee on NDDC to defend himself against alleged involvement in the misappropriation of billions of naira.
During his appearance last month, Akpabio’s claim that a majority of NDDC contracts are awarded to National Assembly members caused a national stir which has received push-back from lawmakers who denied the claim.
Since then, Akpabio has released a list of some of the alleged beneficiaries which include Senator Peter Nwaoboshi, Senator Matthew Urhoghide, Senator James Manager, Honourable Nicholas Mutu, and former senator, Sam Anyanwu.
In a statement signed by the NDDC’s spokesperson, Charles Odili, on Tuesday, August 4, 2020, he said the list submitted to the National Assembly was not compiled by Akpabio, but by the commission’s management in 2018.
He also said the list did not include the unique case of 250 contracts which were signed for and collected in one day by one person seemingly for members of the National Assembly.
He noted that another set of lists for emergency project contracts awarded in 2017 and 2019 were not submitted to the National Assembly.
Odili said the intention of the list was to expose committee chairmen in the National Assembly who used fronts to collect contracts from the Commission, some of which were never executed.
“The Interim Management Committee, IMC, of the Commission stands by the list, which came from files already in the possession of the forensic auditors. It is not an Akpabio list but the NDDC’s list.
“The list is part of the volume of 8,000 documents already handed over to the forensic auditors,” he said.
Prominent indigenes of the Niger Delta who have also been named as beneficiaries of NDDC contracts include former governors of Delta State James Ibori and Emmanuel Uduaghan, former Governor of Abia State, Orji Uzor Kalu, and former senator, Ifeanyi Ararume.
Odili said they should not panic as the NDDC knew that people used the names of prominent persons in the region to secure contracts.
He said the ongoing forensic audit of the commission’s books would unearth those behind the contracts.