The Interim Management of Committee of Niger Delta Development Commission said it had uncovered how the Chairman of the House of Representatives Committee on Niger Delta, Hon. Bunmi Tunji-Ojo, inserted a training cost of N6.4 billion into the 2019 Budget and vowed not to release the signed copy of the budget until 60 per cent (N3.8 billion) of the money was released.
The IMC also revealed how the same lawmakers inflated N750 million road repairs project to N2.9 billion in the 2019 Budget of the Commission.
Speaking on behalf of the Commission before a Senate adhoc Committee on Thursday, the Executive Director of Projects, Dr. Cairo Ojougboh, said Senator Peter Nwaboshi also collected 1,000 contracts to share it among lawmakers.
Ojougboh, who indicted all the previous chairmen of committees overseeing the Commission in the National Assembly, said the hands of Senator Nwaboshi are soiled from turning the NDDC into a “cookie jar” for him be an objective investigator.
He said the Committee chairmen injected new projects into the budget without recourse to the Commission or to the need of intended communities.
He added that budget proposal submitted by the Commission and the budget approved were always at huge variance.
Ojougboh said: “For the budget, there was a training programme at the cost of N6.4 billion inserted in the budget by the House Chairman, Committee on NDDC, who insisted that the signed copy of the budget would not be released unless payment of 60 per cent of the sum was made.
“This is was a programme that has not been executed.”
On the House of Representatives Committee Chairman on the NDDC, Ojougboh said: “This emergency road repairs project was meant to be a single contract valued for Ajowa Akoko at less than N750 million.
“One of the National Assembly Committee on NDDC Chairmen coerced the then management to break it into four lots.
“This pushed the cost of the project to N2,931,655,712.69 (four times the project value)
“The contracts were awarded on 16 April, 2019 to four companies nominated or linked to him.”
In his remarks, the Chairman of the Adhoc Committee, Senator Olubunmi Adetumbi, said the Panel was only saddled with probing the tenure of the IMC since October last year.
Adetumbi said the activities of NDDC before October 2019 was under forensic audit and the Committee will not look into it.
The forensic audit was ordered by President Muhammadu Buhari.