17 August 2015, Abuja – As the Presidency beams its searchlight on how the Niger Delta Development Commission, NDDC, allowed individuals and companies to make away with N183.7 billion as advanced payments for contracts not yet executed, two top politicians in the National Assembly are being fingered as the arrowheads of the huge loss of public fund suffered by the communities.
Top officials of the commission, who tried to explain what led to how the money was lost, blamed the two influential politicians in the National Assembly of using their positions to corner more than 50 per cent of the contracts in the controversial commission.
A director in the commission, who spoke to Vanguard in confidence, regretted that the two ‘powerful politicians’ used their membership of the National Assembly Committee on the NDDC to influence the award of multi-million Naira contracts to themselves and their cronies.
The director pointed out that the two men, a Senator and a House of Representatives member, used the name of a former president and his wife to intimidate the management and board of NDDC to award mouth-watering jobs to their companies, claiming to be acting on the instruction of the first family.
Another official of NDDC, explained to Vanguard that the two men virtually relocated to the commission prior to the last elections and dictated to the management which contract should be awarded to their cronies and what amount should be paid to them as mobilisation fees.
“The events in the commission in recent months were beyond the control of the management and board of the NDDC. They were virtually forced to award huge contracts and pay for such even before they were carried put. That is the truth,” a management staff of NDDC said.
“These men actively used their positions in the National Assembly and their claimed closeness to a former president and his wife to corner most of the jobs and we could not do much to resist them.
“The problem now is that it is the management and the board that have to bear responsibility for the activity of the politicians who have since gone under and pretending as if they knew nothing about what they did concerning contract awards in the commission,” the source said.