Deji Elumoye in Abuja
The Senate wednesday insisted on going ahead with the probe of the alleged N40 billion fraud at the Niger Delta Development Commission ( NDDC) despite moves being made by the agency to stop the National Assembly from probing the alleged fund misappropriation by the management between January and March, this year.
The Red chamber in its reaction to witch hunting allegations levelled against both Chambers of the National Assembly declared that no amount of blackmail will stop the ongoing investigations .
This is just as the upper legislative chamber asked the commission to drag before the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) any suspected beneficiaries of fake contracts awarded by the agency.
The Senate position was canvassed at a news conference addressed by the Chairman of its Committee on Niger Delta Affairs, Senator Peter Nwaoboshi, who alleged that its insistence on the probe of the NDDC was why the IMC members embarked on open media attack against the leaders of the National Assembly.
He challenged the NDDC to publish all records of alleged multiple contracts to Senators and invite the EFCC to investigate allegations of financial misdeeds.
“We are responding to the allegations of the IMC to correct the misrepresentation. If they claim that some 1,000 jobs were given to any Senator, we challenge the IMC members to compile the list of these contracts and publish them.
Also, the EFCC, Police or ICPC should be reached to investigate those claims instead of blackmailing anybody.”
While insisting on probing the financial transactions in the IMC, Nwaoboshi, said: “What we are seeing is a case of a man sent to catch the thief but instead of catching the thief, he starts stealing too. The National Assembly simply set up an ad-hoc committee to investigate allegations of stealing by the NDDC IMC. Why not allow the Adhoc-committee conclude the investigation?” he queried.
According to him, the allegations of balkanisation of budget just came because the IMC members were asked to appear before the Ad-hoc committee to answer questions
“The National Assembly has the right to appropriate and carry out oversight functions on the Niger Delta Ministry, and the NDDC. So, no amount of intimidation or blackmail will stop us”.
He also explained that the National Assembly refused to treat the request to amend the 2019 budget of the NDDC because there was a breach of the procedure for requesting budget amendment or virulent saying however that “if the President sends it, we will consider it but as it stands, there is nothing before the National Assembly”
Nwaoboshi also accused the Minister of Niger Delta Affairs, Senator Godswill Akpabio, of fuelling the crisis between the National Assembly and the NDDC.
He emphasised that despite the fact that Akpabio was a former colleague, he had deleted his (Akpabio’s) telephone number from his phone for allegedly fuelling the crisis between NDDC and the National Assembly.