By Christiana Ekpa
The House of Representatives Committee on Public Accounts yesterday summoned all the former commissioners and executive directors of the Niger Delta Development Commission NDDC to appear unfailingly within seven days over alleged N70.4 billion contracts awarded to 1,723 contractors who absconded without execution of projects.
The House Committee equally asked the Acting Managing Director of the agency Prof. Pondei Kemerbrandikumo to bring a list of all the 1,723 Contractors and the projects awarded to them between 2011 and 2012, as well as invited bank chief executives for fraudulently raising Advance Payment Guarantees for these contractors.
Chairman of the Committee Hon.Oluwole Oke who gave the summoned at the hearing said, the ex-commissioners and executive directors of NDDC had flouted the provisions of the Appropriation Act 2011 and the 1999 Constitution by approving over inflated contracts and making over payments to these contractors.
He further hinted that officials contravened the law and added that he would recommend that to the President that the ex-commissioners and executive directors should be banned from holding public offices
He said, “we wont allow such behavior to go unpunished. Some people are have intentionally raped and violated the provisions of the Appropriation Act and the 1999 Constitution”.
At the hearing, the Acting MD said that most of the expenditure in the contacts were made after late passage of the commission’s annual budgets.
He however admitted that the officials had flouted the laws and demanded that the committee gives him four weeks to comply with the directives.
In his submission, Executive Director Projects NDDC Cairo Ojuogbo said that the contractors were mobilized without work done.
He added that 90 percent of the contracts were awarded between 2011 and 2012 adding that there was excess payment made by the agency more than the value of work done.
Other committee members notably Hon. Mark Gbillah(Benue,APC) and Hon. Fred Agbedi (Bayelsa, PDP) had lamented that the amount of money involved in the contract scam was humongous.
Nonetheless, the committee helsman instited that the NDDC officials must appear unfailingly within seven days and the list of all the projects and contractors should accompany the officials summoned.