NDDC probe: Akpabio Denies Accusing Nat’l Assembly Members Of NDDC Contracts Fraud

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The Minister of Niger Delta Affairs , Senator Godswill Akpabio, on Tuesday held a series of meetings with some stakeholders in the National Assembly over the ongoing investigation of the Niger Delta Development Commission .

Akpabio was at the offices of the acting Clerk to the National Assembly, Olatunde Ojo ; and Chairman of the House Committee on Niger Delta Affairs , Olubunmi Tunji -Ojo , where he met with them separately behind closed doors .

Both the Senate and the House are investigating the alleged illegal spending and mismanagement of N 81 .5 bn by the NDDC under Akpabio’s supervision as minister .

The committee had only laid its interim report in which it indicted Akpabio and the NDDC management , while the House had resolved that the panel continues with probe and present a comprehensive report .

The probe had taken a dramatic turn when Akpabio alleged that the NDDC awarded 60 per cent of its contracts to National Assembly members .

The Speaker , Femi Gbajabiamila, had challenged the minister to provide evidence , Akpabio had named some members , but the lawmakers had denied the projects listed against their names .

Emerging from the meeting with the National Assembly clerk , Akpabio was asked on the charge by Gbajabiamila for him to present proof of his allegation .

He said , “No , no , no , you are wrong. That was not what the Honourable Speaker demanded . The Speaker wanted to know whether there was undue influence from any section of the National Assembly in respect of contracts in the NDDC . He did not say whether they were contractors . So , I ’m hearing it from you.”

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When asked if he was going to meet with the leadership of the National Assembly, apart from the committees , Akpabio said , “National Assembly is National Assembly. We must ensure that there is harmony between the legislature and the executive , and that harmony has existed . In fact, we are just talking to the Clerk of the National Assembly that today , we have a better National Assembly, by implication the Senate and House of Reps , in terms of legislative – executive harmony and cordiality .”

Speaking on the clash between him , the NDDC and the National Assembly, the minister blamed it on mischief .

At about 3: 25 pm , the minister was at the office of the Chairman , Senate Committee on Niger Delta Affairs , Senator Peter Nwaboshi, who was not around .

Akpabio later met with chairman and some members of the House Committee on NDDC , including the spokesman for the House , Mr Benjamin Kalu. The meeting started at about 3 .40 pm lasted till almost 7 pm .

Efforts to get Akpabio and Tunji -Ojo to speak on meeting proved abortive .

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