According to the Interim Management Committee (IMC) of the Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC), those who got “emergency contracts” are scared of the current forensic investigation of the ministry.
The Senate had said that Pondei and other IMC top guns got about 20 – 30% of contract sums before contractors are paid, citing the submission by the Chairman, NDDC Contractors, Joe Adia.
The Ad-hoc committee probing the multi-billion Naira scandal in NDDC is chaired by Senator Olubunmi Adetunmbi (APC – Ekiti North). Members are 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); and Biobarakuma Wangaha (APC – Bayelsa East).
The committee also said claims by the IMC and Minister for Niger Delta, Godswill Akpabio, that NDCC headquarters was 95 percent is false.
Edgar Ebigoni, who is the spokesman to Acting MD, Kemebradikumo Pondei, recalled on Monday, that Pondei denied the allegations and challenged anyone to come forward with evidence.
“It is therefore surprising and disappointing the Senate Committee can be attributed with unproven allegations as their final report,” he said.
Ebigoni said the committee chose to believe the naysayers who claimed that the NDDC headquarters was not nearing completion.
“Whatever made the Senate Ad-Hoc sit in Abuja to accept a negative report rather than accept the challenge of the IMC to visit the headquarters themselves, for an unbiased assessment, is yet unknown. The admittance of the committee that the Forensic Audit is ongoing is a welcome development,” he added.
He noted that the “those mentioned in the emergency contract sleaze” were trying to get back at the IMC “for daring to name and shame those who have held the commission and the region hostage for years.”
“The siege is finally broken. Neither Pondei nor any member of the IMC has sought or received any bribe for performing their duties. The Forensic Audit will actually unravel the issue of over invoicing and contract inflation, among other things. It will follow the money trail and expose those who shared such monies with the contractors.”
“The IMC has been undertaking a painstaking evaluation of projects before approving any historical debt payment, no matter the level of documentary progress already recorded. Previous project valuations have been slashed and actual value of work done determined.”
“Most emergency contractors are therefore no longer getting the humongous figures they had been promised by their co-conspirators within the Commission. The reduced payment is a saving for the Commission and the Niger Delta, not a payment for the persons in the IMC or the Commission.”