… Sound the alarm on the 570 million naira spent on training
… N171 million paid in February to train more than 300 drivers, N150 million paid on April 3, 2020 to Union members to attend training in Italy
By Henry Umoru
ABUJA – THE Senate has sounded the alarm on the N1.121 billion spent by the Niger Delta Development Commission, NDDC on public communication.
According to the Senate, the record for spending on public communication was set at 2.1 billion naira in the reports of the Accountant General of the Federation and the Central Bank of Nigeria, showing an underreporting in the NDDC figure. .
Upper House taking a hit at the leadership of the Interim Management Committee, NDDC IMC over large variation in figures spent on public communication, said IMC leadership under IMC-1 spent 17 million naira for media outreach while the Interim Management Committee, EIMC of NDDC spent a larger amount of 1.1 billion naira.
The disclosure is contained in the report of Senator Olubunmi Adetunmbi, APC, an ad hoc committee led by Ekiti Nord which investigated the alleged financial recklessness to the tune of 40 billion naira at the Niger Delta Development Commission, NDDC by the BMI.
According to the document obtained by Avant-garde, the report stated that “the analysis of this expenditure heading revealed that nearly 55% of NDDC’s disbursements for public communication went to a company called“ Clear Point Communication ”, the next 27% to Patrick Oke and Associates being a quarterly installment of Contract due.
The Senate ad hoc committee sought clarification from NDDC leadership on the specific nature of the work carried out by these two organizations and the major differences in advisory work. The response from the Project Executive Director (EDP) did not particularly address the issue, rather he explained that the contract existed before they took over from IMC-1, he also explained that these payments were historic debts owed to companies about to take legal action against NDDC. The Senate Committee is of the opinion that these expenses are extrabudgetary and must therefore be reimbursed.
”The huge contracts seen on Public Communication cannot be justified by value for money. Allegations by some activists also suggest a probable case of over-billing. These contracts are highly recommended for further review for intent and performance. In addition, contracts must be subject to comparative industry standards to justify the price.
The Senate sounded the alarm over N570 million NDDC spent on training, where N 143 million was paid to individual staff on April 1, 2020, to attend a participatory budget conference.
The report said, “Incidentally, this period occurred during the COVID-19 lockdown, it is evident that the conference was not attended as the country washes over absolute lockdown. This sum must therefore be reimbursed by the Staff concerned. This payment was made to 5 staff members for an average of nearly 28 million naira per person.
“171 million naira to train more than 300 drivers, the individual staff were paid in cash for this training on February 3, 2020, to attend the driver training course. Making cash payments to staff appears to be standard practice at NDDC. This custom is not only unethical, it lacks transparency and accountability. The NDDC must get rid of this practice in order to improve its stewardship duty.
»150 million naira to sponsor members of the Union’s executive to attend training in Turin, Italy. These sums were paid to union members on April 3, 2020, to attend a conference of international labor organizations in Turin, Italy, moreover, this period is also found during the COVID-19 containment, it is obvious that beneficiaries of these payments might not travel outside the country due to the Covid-19 travel restriction, so this sum must be reimbursed by the members of the Union concerned. “
Recall that the Senate had opened on Tuesday, May 5, 2020 an investigation into an alleged financial recklessness to the tune of 40 billion naira by the interim management committee, IMC of the Niger Delta Development Commission, NDDC.
Therefore, Senate Speaker Senator Ahmad Lawan established a six-member ad hoc committee to conduct a holistic investigation into all matters related to, but not limited to, the alleged misapplication and misuse of the sum of N4OBillions per commission.
The committee, which had four weeks to report to plenary, was also to conduct a comprehensive investigation of all purchases and financial transactions by the committee in that fiscal year (2020) and any other matters not in accordance with the provision. of the NDDC Establishment Act, 2000 or any other applicable law.
The ad hoc committee, chaired by Senator Olubunmi Adetunmbi, All Progressives Congress, APC, Ekiti North, has Senators Jika Dauda Haliru, APC Bauchi Central; Mohammed Tanko Almakura, APC Nasarawa South; Abdulfatai Buhari; APC Oyo North; Chukwuka Utazi, PDP, Enugu North, Ibrahim Hadeija, APC Jigawa North East and Degi – Eremienyo Biobarakuma Wangaha, APC Bayelsa East.
The Senate resolutions followed a motion titled “Urgent Need to Investigate Alleged Financial Recklessness of the Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC)” and sponsored by Senator Thompson George Sekibo, PDP Rivers East.
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