NDDC boss, Pondei reacts to arrest order, says he respects National Assembly

Acting Managing Director (MD) of Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC), Professor Kemebradikumo Pondei has expressed strong regards for the institution of the National Assembly.

Professor Pondei at a press conference in Abuja on Thursday, shortly after the House of Representatives ordered his arrest, said if he had no respect for the National Assembly, he would not have honoured the Senate invitation.

He, however, said he would not appear before the current House Committee on NDDC, saying the Commission has accused the Reps panel of corruption.

“Anyday a fresh ad hoc committee without anybody who has been accused by the NDDC is set up, then NDDC will appear because we respect the National Assembly, we respect the Senate, we respect the House of Representatives.

We did not disrespect the National Assembly, we asked for permission to leave.

“We have absolute respect for the National Assembly, that is why we appeared before the Senate Adhoc committee investigating the same issues. We made our presentations over two days. And we are waiting for the outcome of the investigation”, he said.

The NDDC boss said what the House Committee was supposed to be investigating was the allegation of missing N40bn, but the lawmakers, rather, decided to go further by accusing the Interim Management Committee of spending N81.5bn without due process.

He said, “Yesterday, for some reasons beyond our control, we were not able to appear before the Committee, but the report that came out from the same Committee had already indicted us. Our head has already been shaved in our absence”.

On the allegation of reckless spendings to the tune of N81.5bn, Professor Pondei said, “the CBN and AGF gave an account of what the two IMC spent, which was N81 billion. Out of the N81.5bn, N51.9bn was recorded to have been spent by this particular IMC that I head and in the same report from both agencies, the Commission has spent N38.6 billion on projects, including roads and over N35 billion was published in the newspapers and none of the contractors have come out to say that they have not seen their money”.

The NDDC boss said the Commission operate accounts only in the CBN, and the account was published, adding that it was from those things that the investigation in the Senate was based on.

He said, “based on the account provided by the CBN, there is no N40 billion missing anywhere. There is no way N40billion will be missing and the AGF won’t flag it. The Auditor General’s Office also audits our accounts”.

He urged the House to wait and do proper auditing, stressing that, “if we are found liable in any way they know what to do, that is why the National Assembly has a committee on Public Accounts which looks into all kinds of expenditures”.

He said his management team was barely four months and has not settled for any tangible assignment.

Professor Pondei lamented that his Commission was the most Policed agency in recent times, even as he assured the people of Niger Delta of fervent delivery on the mandate of developing the area, despite all odds.

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