Akpabio Dares NASS, Names Nwaoboshi, James Manager, Tunji Ojo, Others As Lawmakers On NDDC Contracts’ List
Despite denying that members of the National Assembly take as much as 60 per cent of all NDDC contracts, Minister of Niger Delta, Senator Godswill Akpabio has released names of lawmakers who have gotten contracts from the Commission.
Akpabio in the annexure of the letter sent to the House of Representatives over the weekend included names of lawmakers who have gotten contracts from the NDDC within 2017 till date. He listed 4 Senators as beneficiaries of 74 contracts.
Topping the list of Senators is Peter Nwaoboshi who Akpabio alleged got 53 contracts while James Manager, Mathew Urhoghide and Sam Anyanwu executed a total of 21 contracts for the NDDC.
It will be recalled that the Niger Delta Minister had on Monday while appearing before the House Committee on NDDC alleged that lawmakers were the most beneficiaries of sleazy contracts from the Commission.
Reacting to the allegations, Speaker of the House, Hon Femi Gbajabiamila gave the Minister 48hrs to release the names of lawmakers who have gotten contracts from the NDDC.
Speaker Gbajabiamila on Thursday after the 48hrs ultimatum elapsed had instructed the Clerk of the House to file a criminal defamation suit against the Minister for failing to list lawmakers who got sleazy contracts, in defense Akpabio immediately responded denying he said lawmakers got 60% of contracts and attributed the “60% statement” to the portion of all NDDC projects in the Niger Delta region.
Akpabio also named the Chairman of House Committee on NDDC, Hon Tunji Ojo as beneficiary of 19 projects valued at N19 billion after tax which was allegedly padded into the 2019 NDDC budget. He also added that it was common knowledge for the two Chairman of Committees to input contracts which they both benefit from personally.
Part of Akpabio’s letter read, “It has always been known that the two chairmen of the committees on NDDC in both chambers yearly exhibit unusual influence to the exclusion of committee members and even the management of the NDDC in appropriating funds to details embellished in the budget after the passage of line items at the plenaries.
“To show you some typical examples, herewith attached are documents showing nature of contracts amount of such contracts (in some cases), date of awards and beneficiaries. Some were awarded to the two chairmen of both committees in the House of Representatives and the Senate, respectively, serving at the period of the awards (Annexure ‘B’, ‘C’ and ‘D’). However, due to the 48 hours’ notice, the forensic auditors could not sift through the thousands of files in their possession to provide more.”
He added, “The investigating Committee on NDDC refused and/or neglected to give me the opportunity to explain that reference to most NDDC contracts yearly being awarded since 2001 from the records allegedly to members of the National Assembly in both Chambers were done without the knowledge of the alleged beneficiaries.
“However, the two Chairmen of the Committees in both Chambers had adequate knowledge. I never referred to members of the 9th National Assembly as beneficiaries of NDDC contracts as NDDC is yet to fully implement any NDDC budget since the commencement of the 9th National Assembly. In fact, the 2019 budget passed in February and harmonised between the 4th and 5th of March 2020 was received by the commission in the middle of April 2020, when same was designated to expire on the 31st of May, 2020.
“However, it is pertinent to point out that the Clerk of the National Assembly forwarded a letter Ref. NASS/CNA/115/VOL.38/1175, dated March 20, 2020, without attaching the budget details indicating that the 2020 budget of the NDDC passed into Law was being forwarded (copy of the letter is attached as Annexure ‘A’). This anomaly was brought to the attention of the Senate Ad-Hoc Committee investigating a purported financial recklessness by the management of the commission in July 2020, though the first outcry was on allegation of missing N40bn which was totally untrue.”