Members of the House of Representatives Committee on Niger Delta Development Commission have accused Godswill Akpabio, Minister of Niger Delta Affairs, of misleading the parliament and the public.
Honourable Thomas Ereyi-Tobi, who is presiding over the hearing, also accused Akpabio of lying under oath while testifying before the panel.
He said, “I have listened attentively through all your submissions but I just want to tell you one thing, you came here to mislead the parliament and you are under oath. That is what you have done deliberately.
“You decided to just come here and mislead the parliament. I want to put it to you that your submission and all the annexures, 8,9,10 and 11 are misleading.
“Before then, you said you have no link of any contract between yourself and NDDC, your job is just to supervise but correspondences show you have been given approval of forensic auditor and contracts.”
Earlier, Professor Kemebradikumo Pondei, acting managing director of the NDDC, had disclosed that the Commission under his stewardship, paid N641 million to one Clear Point communication, to help employ persons to help identify projects being executed by the commission in the region.
When asked to explain what the money was paid for and if it was budgeted for, Pondei said”The money was paid to Clear Point Communications for a variety of purposes all related to the Forensic audit. There are 185 local government areas and each of them was budgetted for N3.46 million. One, allowances for coordinators per local government areas, training for the coordinators, setting up of information desks for the coordinators. These coordinators are the people to identify the sites of all the projects in the NDDC area.”
When asked if what he meant was that he contracted Clear Point to help identify the projects in NDDC areas, Pondei saidThey will get local people in the local government areas to identify these sites where NDDC projects are because when they go for inspections, people are not able to locate these projects and so we needed local people who would guide”
He said those who were employed would also be trained as ”Pointers for Projects”.”Clear Point has been a consultant in the NDDC before I even came in. They are putting help desk, communication desks in all the places to locate the projects” he said
He however could not account for N536 million paid to a company to run a campaign tagged “Save Life campaign”. Pondei appeared shocked as he could not even recall he approved the project.
The acting managing director of the commission later fainted while he was being grilled by the panel over allegations bordering on the mismanagement of funds.