The Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC) has revealed, in an official statement, what it called “perhaps the biggest single case of looting of the Commission’s resources.”
According to a press release signed by Charles Obi Odili, Director, Corporate Affairs , NDDC, Monday morning, “From our findings, the person who has questions to answer to the Niger Delta People is Senator (Peter) Nwaoboshi. Our records show that Senator Nwaoboshi used 11 front companies (owned or traceable to him) to secure a contract of N3.6 billion in September 2016, in what is perhaps the biggest single case of looting of the Commission’s resources.”
NDDC proceeded to list the companies allegedly linked to the Senator Nwaoboshi in the statement.
It further said, “The inventory records show that these items were supplied and received on Senator Nwaoboshi’s business premises and warehouse. Meanwhile, the contracts were awarded to him.
“However, some of the items supplied to Nwaoboshi’s warehouse through his cronies, were later resold to the Delta state government, while the others were sold to other states through contracts awarded to him.
“All supply agreements were signed by one and the same person being (name withheld) traceable to Senator Nwaoboshi. This is in flagrant contravention of section 58(4) (a) and (d) of the Public Procurement Act. No wonder Sen. Nwaoboshi and his cohorts are jittery about the ongoing forensic audit exercise in the NDDC and are doing everything possible to derail it.
The NDDC statement said “We believe that until Senator Nwaoboshi can absolve himself of his role in the looting of the resources of the Commission, he should step aside from any investigative activity against the Commission.”
“NDDC deserves the freedom to deliver on its mandate”, the statement said.
Newsdiaryonline reports the Commission’s press release was in reaction to a statement by Senator Nwaoboshi accusing the Commission of awarding N500m contract to Senator Godswill Akpabio, the Minister of Niger Delta.
NDDC said “Our attention has been drawn to a statement by Senator Peter Nwaoboshi, Chairman of the Senate Committee on Niger Delta that the Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC) awarded a contract of N500 million to the Honourable Minister of Niger Delta Affairs, Senator Godswill Akpabio, which he did not execute.
However the statement said, before giving the details quoted above that, “The Commission wishes to state that it has searched through its records and there is no evidence of any contract awarded to Senator Akpabio or any company associated with him by the NDDC.
“The person who has questions to answer to the Niger Delta People is Senator Nwaoboshi..,” the Commission said.
Attempts by Newsdiaryonline to speak with Senator Nwaoboshi Monday morning failed.
The statement signed by Nwaoboshi’s Special Assistant on Legislative and Media Affairs , Luka Igbonoba , reads : “The charade in the past weeks by the Interim Management Committee of the Niger Delta Development Commission to blackmail a routine task of the National Assembly to perform its oversight function as stated in the constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, has no doubt, become a national embarrassment.
“More so is the uncharitable and condemnable low of smear campaigns against members of the institution, churning out blatant lies that are easily verifiable. The latest, been a press release signed by a supposed civil servant, on allegations that are completely false and unfounded.
“They listed 11 companies and ascribed ownership to Distinguished Senator Peter Nwaoboshi. These are companies that he does not know nor had anything to do with. A simple search at Corporate Affairs Commission will, at least, show both former and present directors. How do you libelously claim a man owns companies that perhaps belong to other people?
“Apparently, the officials might have generated names of companies they have probably used to siphon the peoples common patrimony, everyone involved must face the wrath of the law as it is expected that due diligence should precede any contract award. In any case, if the contracts were actually awarded in 2016 as alleged, the forensic audit which covers the period is expected to expose every detail surrounding these contracts and save the public from this shameless falsehood.
“We strongly challenge NNDC to avail the public of the names of directors and shareholders of all the companies.
“For the umpteenth time, Senator Nwaoboshi once again declares that he is neither a director nor shareholder in any of the companies listed by NDDC.
“Nigerians are aware that the misleading press release is just another desperate attempt to rescue the already shredded and tattered image of Godswill Akpabio.
“Senator Nwaoboshi, once again, stands on and reaffirms all he said in his last press conference as it concerns the Minister. He made it very clear and evidentially backed it up by presenting a memo written to him by Akpabio in 2017, requesting the inclusion of projects in the 2017 NDDC budget amounting to the tune of 500 million Naira.
“The fact of this request is incontrovertibly true as contained in the said memo which is in the public domain. No amount of brazen denial can subvert the documented evidence. The commission keeps indicting itself in the desperate attempt to exonerate Akpabio”.
Nwaoboshi’s aide added in the statement that the claim that some school desks and chairs purportedly produced for NDDC were diverted and supplied to Delta state government by him is a white lie from the pit of hell.
“The inconsistency in lies dished out by the Interim management committee of NDDC against Senator Peter Nwaoboshi easily exposes the laughable attempt to smear an innocent man. First, they alleged he was receiving 1billion Naira monthly as consultancy fee. Same NDDC admitted that the allegation is false.
“They later turned around to allege that he received 1000 contracts. When that again fell like every other, the narrative changed to 350 contracts. All of a sudden, it has all collapsed to 11 contracts. Soon, the number shall obviously come to zero. That is the ways of lies; they crumble like pack of cards.
“On this note, Senator Nwaoboshi challenges NDDC to allow for independent investigation of all contract awarded by the commission and see if findings would not show that Akpabio is the greatest beneficiary of contract awards and looter of the commission”, he added.
With reports from the Senate by Haruna Salami