Monday January 18, 2021 8:14 AM

NDDC has become ‘ATM’ for corrupt officials under Buhari’s govt- PDP

The People’s Democratic Party (PDP) has called for a full-scale investigation into allegations of massive fraud and looting of funds reportedly going on at the Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC).

The party lamented that the NDDC, under the current management, has become an automated teller machine (ATM) for corrupt political leaders and their cronies.

The development, the PDP, in a statement on Monday by its spokesman, Kola Ologbondiyan, said has completely crippled the commission from delivering on its mandate to the people of the region.

The party noted that the public space is already awash with allegations of looting of billions of naira NDDC funds.

According to the PDP, the alleged looting was being perpetrated through the award of shady contracts, diversion of funds and sleazy procurement deals by officials, “in a manner akin to earlier exposed looting in the National Health Insurance Scheme (NHIS)”.

The main opposition party expressed worries that the NDDC management has not been able to give cogent explanations to the reported Lassa fever contract fraud through which over N4 billion naira NDDC fund, was alleged to have been frittered on hazy procurement deals.

The statement said, “This is in addition to flimsy denials on the alleged attempt by certain interests to fraudulently funnel N5.5 billion out of NDDC coffers under the guise of procuring kits for the COVID-19 pandemic, a development which also trails reports that the NDDC had already spent over N1.045 billion purportedly for supply of kits and palliatives to Nigerians in nine states.

“The PDP however rejects the attempt by the NDDC management to divert attention from the issues at stake, particularly by alluding to faceless detractors while at the same time opting for internal investigation on the N5.5 billion COVID-19 contract allegation, instead of referring the matter to the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC).

“Such resort to internal investigation only points to a desperate attempt at concealment, which in turn validates allegations of complicity at very high level.

“It is more disheartening to note that such humongous looting, manipulations and concealments are going on in a commission like the NDDC under an administration that claims to have zero tolerance for corruption.

“Moreover, the PDP invites Nigerians to observe that top officials appointed by President Buhari to oversee the NDDC include individuals with corruption charges from their previous public assignments including as state governors”

The party urged the National Assembly to commence an investigation into the books of the NDDC under the present management, recover the looted funds and channel the money to the projects meant for the wellbeing of Nigerians as contained in the budget of the commission.

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