In News by Oluwaseun Samuel on the 18th, July, 2020

How Akpabio Hijacked NDDC Forensic Audit Ordered By Buhari

How Akpabio Hijacked NDDC Forensic Audit Ordered By Buhari

Godsiwll Akpabio

Akpabio and Nunieh

The embattled former appearing Managing Director of the Niger Delta Growth Fee, Mrs Pleasure Nunieh, on Friday accused the Minister of Niger Delta Affairs, Senator Godswill Akpabio, of hijacking the forensic audit of the NDDC ordered by the President, Main Common Muhammadu Buhari (retd.).

Talking when she appeared earlier than the Home of Representatives Committee on NDDC over allegations of unlawful expenditure and mismanagement by the fee, Nunieh, on the investigative listening to, alleged that the minister breached varied legal guidelines in a bid to hijack the forensic audit.

On Thursday, the investigation of the NDDC took a dramatic flip when the police, mentioned to have been despatched from Abuja, invaded Nunieh’s residence in Port Harcourt, the Rivers State capital.

The Governor of Rivers State, Nyesom Wike, who intervened and prevented the police from taking Nunieh away, had requested the Inspector-Common of Police, Mohammed Adamu, to probe the invasion of the house of the previous NDDC boss.

It was alleged that the invasion, throughout which the policemen had been seen in a viral video breaking the girl’s rear door to achieve entry forcibly, was to forestall Nunieh from shifting from Port Harcourt to Abuja to testify earlier than the panel.

On the identical day, NDDC’s Interim Administration Committee members, led by the appearing Managing Director, Prof Kemebradikumo Pondei, appeared earlier than the Home committee however later walked out of the sitting after insisting that the panel chairman, Mr Olubunmi Tunji-Ojo, should step down. The Home committee then issued a warrant for the arrest of the IMC members.

However on Friday, Nunieh, who attended the listening to and made her presentation through on-line assembly platform, Zoom, apologised for not exhibiting up on the listening to on Thursday, “as a result of what would have occurred would have been that no one would have recognized who took me away and solely God is aware of what would have occurred.”

She added, “This has been the modus operandi for enemies of the minister and ex-governor of Akwa Ibom State. You noticed what occurred yesterday, it was all about paperwork.”

When the panel chairman requested in regards to the forensic audit ordered by Buhari, for which the IMC was constituted, Nunieh mentioned, “What I met was not precisely what’s going on. Akpabio insisted that he would supervise the forensic audit. I reminded him and confirmed him the letter that the President had written, that there is no such thing as a means we may spend the cash that was in our price range.

“In his memo to the President, he requested that the cash for the funding of the forensic audit be acquired from the Service Broad Vote. Mr President, in his knowledge, refused that request and in writing mentioned it needs to be from NDDC’s appropriation, making NDDC the manufacturing entity.”

Nunieh additionally alleged that auditors had not been appointed to conduct the audit as being claimed by Akpabio.

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She mentioned, “After I was there, I used to be the one who ready all of the paperwork for the forensic audit and despatched within the functions. The primary factor was for us to undergo the procurement of the lead guide. Many individuals have clearly misunderstood the procurement of the lead guide. As a result of I didn’t need any illegality and the forensic audit to be discredited, I ensured – with the assistance of massive consultants – we got here up with the phrases of reference for these auditors.

“The lead guide that everybody is speaking about just isn’t the forensic auditor. He doesn’t have lots. The position of the lead guide is to assemble. When all of the forensic auditors have gotten all of the information and studies from the sphere, they may put them collectively and provides to the lead guide who will put them collectively in a report. That’s simply his position. He’s not the one to hold out any forensic audit.

“This (Messrs Olumuyiwa) Basiru and Co, I have no idea if they’ve ever carried out a forensic audit. So, I will probably be asking to inform them to provide you with proof that they’ve ever carried out a forensic audit earlier than, in accordance with the provisions of the Public Procurement Act, which requires that for any guide or contractor, should present proof that for the previous three years or thereabouts, they’ve carried out that.”

The ex-NDDC boss challenged the minister and IMC to offer a proof that the fund being spent on auditors was appropriated by the Nationwide Meeting. In line with her, the fee had obtained Certificates of No Objection from the Bureau of Public Procurement even when the 2020 price range of the NDDC had not been handed.

She added, “It’s a felony offence to obtain any guide with out the appropriation made by the Nationwide Meeting as a result of it should be an anticipatory budgeting. On this case, has the Nationwide Meeting appropriated funds?”

She accused Akpabio of deceptive the Federal Government Council to approve the procurement of auditors even when the audit was to be funded with the 2020 price range of the NDDC.

Nunieh additionally said that she spent a complete of N8bn throughout her keep as appearing MD between October 2019 and February 2020.

The NDDC is, nonetheless, mentioned to have spent not lower than N81.5bn in 2020 alone.

Nunieh alleged that Akpabio gave her a listing of NDDC officers to be redeployed or sacked, together with the one northerner within the administration.

She recalled that October 28, 2019, on her strategy to the inauguration of the IMC on the boardroom of the Federal Ministry of Niger Delta, the minister threatened to see to her exit from workplace if she did not do his bidding.

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Nunieh alleged that Akpabio requested her to nominate 10 of her aides, as he did with Bernard Okumagba as MD of NDDC.

She additionally said that two days after the inauguration, on the Le Meridien Lodge, at Akpabio’s first assembly with the IMC, the minister instructed her he needed her to ship some staff away.

She said, “He mentioned the very first thing I’d do is to put in writing a letter to him – he gave me the draft, that I ought to put it on my letterhead. In that letter, I used to be supposed to put in writing about many of the corporations; Senator (Peter) Nwaboshi owned the 98 corporations.

“I by no means ever instructed the world that Senator Nwaboshi was the senator that was accumulating the N1bn. The problem of the N1bn was completely different. I mentioned ‘how can a person be accumulating N1bn each month?’ The case of Senator Nwaboshi is the case of the 98 information which I used to be purported to write about.”

Talking on the problem of employment, she said that the minister had collected curricula vitae from “godfathers” and he or she made it recognized that the problem of employment was already a problem earlier than she got here because the Federal Character Fee that used to provide NDDC the approval for employment stopped it due to the scandal.

She added, “I need to inform the world that I by no means did any employment. I by no means gave out a single contract from NDDC.

“I’m not corrupt. No contractor can sit wherever and say they gave me N10. And I can say earlier than the world that I’m essentially the most unpopular MD ever that got here to NDDC. The cash of the individuals of Niger Delta is blood cash, I refused to the touch it. Even when my mates had been contractors, even after they claimed that they had been owed monies, my instruction was that everyone ought to end their jobs. Everyone noticed contractors going again to web site after I was the MD.

“I used to be privileged to see all of the movies. For one job, 5 individuals would ship me movies of completion – the identical job, the identical video – and I would simply snicker.”

…blames interim administration c’ttee, workers, others for rot in fee

Nunieh additionally blamed the IMC, NDDC staff and other people of the Niger Delta for the rot within the fee.

She mentioned, “The issues that you’re investigating at this time have three main teams which are chargeable for the issues which have gone flawed in the NDDC. One group is the administration, which is the IMC, and all people is towards the IMC. The second group is the workers of NDDC. And the third group, which I’ll begin with, is the individuals of the Niger Delta.

“This story that we’re all calling embarrassing can’t be full with out saying that the individuals of the Niger Delta area are accountable for what has occurred – the frauds and corruption which have taken place within the NDDC.

“I’m talking from a private expertise. As quickly because the MD is appointed, individuals start to rejoice and rejoice, not as a result of they need you to do the precise factor; not as a result of they’re within the improvement of the Niger Delta, they consider it’s now their flip to eat out of the nationwide cake.

“They aren’t desirous about something; all they needed had been like palliatives. That’s the reason for many who didn’t harden their coronary heart like me, they fell for this palliative matter they usually began giving out. However as a result of I used to be robust; as a result of I at all times keep in mind the case of Gani Fawehinmi; Fawehinmi fought for the plenty of this nation. When he mentioned he needed to contest an election, they weren’t there. I keep in mind that I wanted to face correctly.

“The second class is the workers. The workers members of NDDC are from the Niger Delta area. The contracts which were awarded are from their communities. After I was appointed, I went from workplace to workplace; I sat of their workplaces and I instructed them, ‘You persons are chargeable for what has gone flawed within the zone.’ All of the workers members have of their wards or native authorities areas tasks. If each workers of NDDC takes up a venture of their native authorities space and make sure that they’re nicely delivered, we won’t have these points.

“Thirdly, the IMC; for the primary time within the historical past of NDDC, no palliatives got. I didn’t give out Christmas palliative. I used to be beneath stress to deliver N10bn – N1bn per state – however I refused. The youth had been complaining that issues had been troublesome and I mentioned ‘the day I provide you with this cash, I’ve began accumulating your cash.’ I by no means gave any Christmas bonus or palliative throughout my time. For the first time within the historical past of NDDC, NDDC labored all through December. There was no break besides on public holidays.”

***

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Supply: The PUNCH

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