A group, Transparency and Accountability Advancement Group, has faulted the reason given by the Niger Delta Development Commission on why it could not make payments to students on scholaship abroad.
The commission was reported to have said that students on NDDC scholarship abroad had not been paid because the Commission could not make payments from its domiciliary account without an Executive Director Finance and Administration.
In a statement signed by its Director of Information and Strategy, Damian Nwikinaka, the group decribed the reason adduced as a lie to perpetuate illegal, fraudulent and corrupt Interim Management Committee of the commission.
The statement read: “We read with disbelief the falsehood credited to Charles Odili, Director of Corporate Affairs at the Niger Delta Development Commission, wherein he said that students on NDDC scholarship abroad have not been paid because the Commission cannot make payments from its domiciliary account without an Executive Director Finance and Administration (EDFA). This is the greatest lie and deceit of the Century aimed at perpetuating the illegal, fraudulent and corrupt IMC.
“Odili, who did not disguise the fact that he was acting on behalf of Niger Delta Minister Chief Godswill Akpabio and the IMC, said the minister had sought the President’s approval to appoint a new EDFA, using the excuse of the students’ plight. This is fraudulent and we urge President Muhammadu Buhari to reject this plea from Akpabio, because the NDDC financial regulations have made adequate provisions to meet its financial obligations, even in the absence of its Executive Management. Mr President should be mindful of Akpabio’s schemes to perpetuate his IMC scam.”
The statemrnt further said: “To address the issues raised by Akpabio and the IMC, the Domiciliary Account of NDDC is domiciled with the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), with the Managing Director/CEO as the approving authority for any payment or transfer from the domiciliary account. There are four other signatories to the account. These are the EDFA in Category ‘A’, with the Director of Finance as Alternate; and the Executive Director, Projects in Category ‘B’, with the Director, Project Monitoring & Supervision (DPMS) as Alternate. Any of the ‘A’ and ‘B’ signatories can sign for payments to be made from the domiciliary account with the approval of the Managing Director/Chief Executive Officer. No transfer or payment can be made without the approval of the Managing Director/CEO, and not the EDFA.
“By the provision of the signatory categories, in the absence of the EDFA, as has been the case since May, the Director of Finance steps in as signatory. Both the Director of Finance and the Director of Project Monitoring and Supervision are staff (bureaucrats) in the NDDC and they are available to make such payments. In fact the NDDC has been making payments since the Acting EDFA died in May.”
The group claimed that despite the fact that there was no EDFA at the moment, the IMC had been transferring funds from the same domiciliary account to Naira account with the CBN for the payments they had been making since May, 2020, when the late Acting EDFA passed on.
“The NDDC does not need a fresh Acting EDFA to make payments for scholarship program or any other payments from the domiciliary account of the NDDC with the CBN. The question to ask Akpabio and the IMC is if the NDDC does not have alternate signatories?
“Both the CBN and the Office of Accountant of the Federation (OAGF) are aware that payments can be made by the Managing Director and other officers from the NDDC domiciliary account without an EDFA. Therefore, nobody should believe the cheap falsehood being bandied about by Akpabio and the IMC. It is another strategy or antics to deceive people and the President to allow them to bring in a new EDFA into the IMC at a time that all Nigerians are calling for the fraudulent, discredited and disgraced IMC to be disbanded for a proper Governing Board to come in to administer the NDDC.
“The narrative that the payment for the overseas scholarships has not been done because of the absence of the EDFA is yet another falsehood by Akpabio and the IMC calculated at deceiving the Federal Government, the same way Akpabio deceived the Federal Executive Council to approve two memos for projects without budgetary provision, which is a contravention of the Public Procurement Law of the Federal Republic of Nigeria,” it said.
The group urged President Buhari and the Federal Executive Council to be very circumspect of Akpabio’s schemes and not allow themselves to be used to further his agenda at the NDDC.
“We stand by the Senate resolutions based on the report of its Adhoc Committee, which investigated and discovered large-scale fraud and financial recklessness against the IMC led by Professor Keme Pondei, that the IMC be disbanded. Akpabio should not be allowed to perpetuate his corrupt IMC contraption through the backdoor,” it added.