By Victor Oluwasegun and Tony Akowe, Abuja
Minister for Niger Delta Affairs, Senator Godswill Akpabio on Monday informed the Home of Representatives that the previous Appearing Managing Director of the Niger Delta Improvement Fee (NDDC), Dr. Pleasure Nunieh was sacked following a letter from the late Chief of Employees to the President, Abba Kyari that she doesn’t have the requisite qualification to occupy a public workplace.
Akpabio who was testifying earlier than the Home of Representatives Committee investigating the lacking N40 billion from the fee stated Kyari’s letter acknowledged that the previous NDDC boss doesn’t have an NYSC certificates, including that the letter shaped one of many foundation for her removing from workplace.
He additionally stated the opposite motive for her removing from workplace bothers on insubordination and her refusal to attend a gathering of the Federal Govt Council to supply clarification on sure actions of the Fee.
He stated “she ignored the letter written to her by the Everlasting Secretary of the Ministry directing her to attend a gathering of the Federal Govt Council (FEC).
“She felt that she is larger than the Minister as a result of she has a much bigger finances.”
In a moderately rowdy session with members of the Home Committee, Akpabio denied claims by Dr. Nunieh that the forensic audit of the fee has not commenced, saying the forensic audit has since commenced.
Shout of “Hon. Minister, it’s OK, Hon. Minister off your mic”, sometimes hire the air as Akpabio insist on talking even when members had been speaking and urging him to cease his shows.
Members had queried the Minister on his alleged usurpation of the powers of the previous managing director asking to what extent he had influenced or exercised such powers within the company.
His reply: “If I discover out that the MD of NDDC isn’t appearing within the curiosity of the Niger Delta folks, I’ll intervene. I had to try this as soon as once I heard in regards to the cost for Lassa fever. I referred to as and came upon that they’d paid N2.9 billion and so they had been about to pay one other N572 million, I needed to intervene and say they need to not as a result of there was no finances at the moment. The contractor wrote to me to approve N572 million.”
A member, Benjamin Kalu accused the Minister of not answering the Committee query, however Akpabio denied the allegations, saying; “I’m supplying you with the information”
He additionally accused the Minister of usurping the capabilities of the Managing Director of NDDC by writing a letter to BPP securing a letter of no objection, however Akpabio stated “It’s the NDDC that finally turned the procuring company.
“What occurred was that we thought the federal government was going to pay for the forensic audit. However when the approval of the President got here out, he stated NDDC ought to pay and so the letter we wrote was withdrawn.
“We had even gone to the federal tenders’ board. However finally, the NDDC turned the procuring company.”
Akpabio additionally refuted allegations by Nunieh that he authorised from NDDC coffers a whopping N10bn for her to share to its contractors
He additional stated that the N2.5 billion for the forensic audit train was included within the 2019 finances of the company
On the allegation that the company had been awarding contracts to its contractors with out going by means of the procurement course of and signing of mandatory paperwork, he stated that the company solely awarded three contracts after he assumed workplace as Minister.
The Minister additionally hinted that in all of the contracting processes, each the technical and monetary bidding processes had been performed earlier than the contracts had been awarded to contractors.
Akpabio nonetheless revealed that in a bid to evade his signing contract funds, the administration of the NDDC splits contracts making it tough for him to know what’s going on within the Fee.
Based on the Minister he has no fingers within the contracts funds within the NDDC as authorities rules doesn’t enable ministers to pay for parastatals.
“It isn’t my enterprise to approve cost for parastatal, the place they’ll come to me is when the cost is above 1 billion naira. Even at that, I need to go to FEC to get approval,” he stated.
He stated due to contract splitting, a minister may keep 4 years within the Ministry with out figuring out what was occurring.
“Over N4.2 billion was spent in a day in tranches of N49 million,” he stated.
Akpabio additionally stated that the forensic audit of the company ordered by President Muhammadu Buhari in 2019 is ongoing as in opposition to the improper data by the previous managing director that that the audit is but to begin.
He added that no person would have anticipated that the account of the company wouldn’t be audited after nineteen years of its existence.