Wednesday, August 19, 2020

Pondei finally open up On unexpected fainting while being questioned by lawmakers

 

Following the incident that happened a month ago at the House of Representatives, where NDDC acting MD unexpectedly fainted, while being questioned by lawmakers.


Making other participants at the meeting to made a spirited effort to revive him.


Prof Kemebradikumo Pondei, The acting Managing Director, Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC) has finally opened up on the incident at the House.


Pondei explained that he had a mysterious and unpredictable health challenge and was stunned people thought he was acting.


Recall that Pondei had passed out while testifying before the panel. After he came around, he was taken out of the venue.



He disclose in an interview that 


“It is ridiculous to think that people believed I was acting. I would not pray for anyone to experience what I went through. I do not run from issues. I have put all that behind me.”


On the delay in passing the Commission’s 2019 Budget, he revealed: “A minor typographical error was noticed and we asked for 10 minutes to amend the errors, but the presentation was stepped down. The National Assembly, NASS, has since gone on recess.”


The MD also described the different allegations rocking the NDDC as laughable.


He said, “The accusations/allegations were laughable. From N40 billion missing, the probes now became extra-budgetary spending. After accusing the EIMC of embezzlement of N40 billion, nothing was substantiated.


“The IMC is then asked to refund monies paid for historical debts owed contractors, service providers and allowances paid to staff.”



When asked about NDDC mistaking projects they facilitated to their constituencies for contracts awarded to them and calling them contractors, Pondei said, the lawmakers actually facilitated the projects to their constituencies but also insisted on the contracts been awarded to them or their proxies.


On the NDDC budget, he said “The 2019 and 2020 NDDC Budgets were submitted in October 2019. The 2019 Budget was passed in the first week of March 2020 and the approval given on the 20th March 2020.


“The signed copy of the approved budget was not received by the NDDC until the second week of April 2020 during the COVID-19 lock-down.



“The Commission tried its best to see if the implementation of any projects could be started. Unfortunately, the 2019 Budget expired on the 31st of May 2020 and the next day, we got communication from the Committee Chairmen of the NASS informing us of the expiration of the budget.


“In between the probes by the NASS, we tried to present the 2019 budget performance and defend the 2020 budget


“A minor typographical error was noticed and we asked for 10 minutes to amend the errors, but the presentation was stepped down. The NASS has since gone on recess.”



On the reports that the NDDC was spending more funds while the probe was on, Pondei said, “All relevant documents/facts were submitted to Senate/House of Representatives Committees


He admitted that it is causing retrogression of the Niger Delta region.

“People borrowed money to execute NDDC contracts. Non-payment is having a toll on many contractors from the region.


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