NDDC IMC acting MD slumps before Reps

THERE was panic at the National Assembly on Monday when the Acting Managing Director of the Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC), Prof Kemebradikumo Pondei, fainted   during an investigative hearing by the House of Representatives Committee on Niger Delta Affairs.

The development threw Room 231 venue of the hearing into pandemonium. People rushed to his aid and revived him before he was taken to the hospital.

Pondei was being questioned over N536 million paid to a group of associates in the Niger Delta; the purpose of the N641 million paid to Clear Point Communications Limited;   the N536 million budgeted for save lives campaign in the region; the N1.5 billion handed out to staff members  of the commission as COVID-19 palliative and huge sums meant for students on scholarship, when he fainted.

Before the incident, Pondei explained that N59. 9 billion was spent by the IMC on scholarship and forensic audit processes and   N1.32 billion on the commission’s staff members as COVID-19 palliative   and not   N1.5 billion as widely reported.

The NDDC acting managing director had on some occasions failed to honour invitations by the committee. On Thursday when he eventually appeared, he staged a walkout, accusing the chairman of the Committee, Olubunmi   Tunji-Ojo, of being an “accused and interested party” in the probe saga.

Pondei however, honoured the committee’s invitation yesterday, citing President Muhammadu Buhari’s directive to all his appointees to cooperate with the National Assembly and other relevant bodies in cleaning up the mess in the intervention agency.

But, about 45 minutes into the questioning by members of the House Committee, Pondei fainted. He received help from people sitting closest to him. One of them rushed to him and forced his mouth open while another grabbed a   can malt which he tried to force him to drink.

Pondei   however, regained consciousness after water was poured on his face before being helped out of the venue.

The development forced the session presided over by Tunji-Ojo’s deputy, Thomas Ereyitomi, .into a 30-minute break.

Tunji-Ojo step aside before sitting commenced to allow for fairness.

Some of the allegations read against the NDDC are:

”That an Interim Management Committee of the NDDC spent N81.5 billion as sundry expenses, including graduation ceremonies in the United Kingdom during lockdown.

* That the IMC Spent N3.14 billion for COVID-19 palliatives for staff members;   N1.3 billion on community relations  and  N85.6million on  travels during lockdown between February and May 2020:

* That the IMC also spent N122.9 million on condolences between February – May 2020; N23.8million on consultancy and  N2.6 billion on medicals,

*The spending of   N790.9million as imprest;  N1.9 billion on Lassa fever;  N706 million on legal services;  N1.121 billion on public communication.

The NDDC and an associate of Pondei, Vure Kingsley, later explained yesterday evening that   Pondei,had a history of being ill.

But, the opposition Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), described the Poindei incident as further underscoring ”the weight of corruption that has bedeviled the All Progressives Congress (APC) administration.”

In a statement by its Director, Corporate Affairs, Charles Odili, the NDDC said Pondei attended the hearing against his doctors’ advice.

The statement said:  ”The commission wishes to disclose that Prof Pondei has been ill for the past two weeks. This morning, his condition deteriorated and his doctors advised him against attending the hearing.

“However, he ignored his doctors’ advice because of the realisation that his traducers will use his absence at the hearing to soil his name and reputation. He thought he could make it through the hearing and take care of his health later.

“As it turned out, his doctors were right. But Prof Pondei is in a stable condition at a clinic in Abuja.”

The statement further explained that “it would be unfair to hold him (Pondei) personally liable for acts which took place when he was not the head of the commission.”

The acting managing director assumed office on February 20, 2020 and by  May 5, the National Assembly “ordered a probe of his tenure of exactly 74 days at the time, two thirds of which was spent under COVID-19 lockdown conditions.”

from iReporter Online https://ift.tt/2Bn9JNK
NDDC IMC acting MD slumps before Reps NDDC IMC acting MD slumps before Reps Reviewed by Osigwe Omo-Ikirodah on July 21, 2020 Rating: 5

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