OrderPaperToday – A Civil Society Organization (CSO) operating in the Niger Delta region has drawn the attention of the federal government to an alleged extra budgetary expenditure at the Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC).
The group which is named, Act For Positive Transformation Initiative, also alleged that officials of the Commission were busy trying to manipulate official documents to cover up for their illegal spending and asked the Minister for Niger Delta Affairs, Senator Godswill Akpabio, to immediately halt the illegalities going on in the commission ahead of the forensic audit ordered by the President.
Head, Directorate of Research, Planning & Programmes of the group, Kolawole Johnson, said in a letter to the Minister, a copy of which was sighted by OrderPaper Nigeria, that the commission only recently employed about 105 contract staff illegally.
Mr. Johnson accused the Commission of spending N30 billion in just three months and therefore urged the Minister to “halt this new round of looting.”
The letter, which is dated 15 September 2020, and copied to the Secretary to the Government of the Federation, Chief of Staff to the President, the Minister of Finance and the Attorney General of the Federation, recalled that the Federal Executive Council (FEC) on August 26th approved the sum of 722 Million Naira for forensic auditors to audit the NDDC.
“Speaking with journalists at the end of the meeting, you (Sen Godswill Akpabio) informed the public that the approved payment shall be funded by the Presidency because the commission’s budget has not been approved by the National Assembly, hence cannot make capital expenditure,” the letter said, adding:
“This is a clear indication that the Federal Executive Council shall not support any unlawful and illegal expenditure at the commission as the law is clear on extra budgetary expenditure.
“Against the position of FEC and The President which you communicated to the Press, the
NDDC under you has sustained its illegal spending against the law, with impunity. Records show that extra budgetary expenditure under your supervision has hit Thirty (30) Billion Naira in just three months.
“A fresh plot has, again, been uncovered to loot the commission’s resources this week via
another round of illegal extra budgetary expenditure. Top officials of the commission were sighted at the commission’s office on Saturday, 12th of September, preparing and backdating documents to fast track this set of payments beginning from Monday 14th.
The group therefore called on the minister to “immediately halt this new round of looting. It is on record that about 140 (One Hundred and Forty) Billion Naira has so far been spent under your supervision as the supervising Minister over the Commission. It is also instructive to note that payment for desilting against the instruction of Mr. President has dominated the recent illegal expenditure.”
The group also claimed that illegal recruitment is ongoing in the commission and about 105 contract staff were recently employed, illegally, without aptitude test or interviews.