The Acting Managing Director of the Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC), Prof. Kemebradikumo Pondei, revealed on Tuesday that the commission’s 2019 budget was inflated with over 500 non-existing projects.
Pondei disclosed this to journalists while making clarifications on alleged corruption by the Interim Management Committee (IMC) of the NDDC .
The Senate had earlier this month set up a seven-man ad hoc committee to investigate alleged misappropriation of N40billion within three months by the IMC.
The NDDC chief said that billions of naira was appropriated for the non-existing projects.
He said the IMC made the discovery while investigating the 2019 appropriation to the Commission.
According to Pondei, the NDDC 2019 budget will terminate on May 31 without any project executed in the region during the fiscal year.
He said” “We discovered that after NDDC forwarded its budget to the National Assembly Committees on NDDC, what was sent back to the Commission was no longer recognisable.
“The 2019 budget was classically over padded, with almost 500 new projects inserted to it when it was sent back to us.
“We found out the budget appropriation was done in such a way that meaningful projects were allocated very little sums of money.
“It is unfortunate that the 2019 budget will expire on May 31 without any project executed in the region. It was passed two months to the end of its implementation period.
“It is worrying that rather than being a major intervention agency, the Commission has been reduced to erecting street lights and constructing drainages, something local governments should do.”
Pondei described as false the allegations by some groups that the IMC misappropriated billions meant for the development of the
Niger Delta .
He added that the allegations were the handiwork of people and groups who were afraid that the ongoing forensic audit would reveal their corrupt dealings with past NDDC managements.