National Assembly, NDDC trade words over allegations of budget padding

The Senate and the House of Representatives have reacted to allegations of budget delay and budget padding of the 2019 budget of the Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC).

The Acting Managing Director of the Commission, Kemebradikumo Pondei, and the Executive Director, Project, Cairo Ojougboh, made the allegations in separate interviews.

The duo claimed that the lawmakers inserted over 500 projects into the 2019 budget of the commission and are arm-twisting the Interim Management Committee (IMC) from carrying out a forensic audit as directed by President Buhari.

Ojougboh also said the House of Representatives “vandalized and raped” the 2019 budget by adding ₦85 billion to the budget.

They also claimed that the “overbearing stranglehold” of the National Assembly’s panels was responsible for the delay in the passage of the commission’s 2019 budget.

In his reaction, the Senate spokesperson, Ajibola Basiru, said the commission was exhibiting ignorance about the constitutional power of the National Assembly to perform oversight functions over all entities that expend national funds, particularly to prevent or detect corruption.

He said the National Assembly would wait to see if the NDDC will fail to honour the invitation to be extended to it by the ad hoc committee probing the alleged N40 billion fraud at the commission.

On his part, the Chairman, Senate Committee on Niger Delta Affairs, Peter Nwaoboshi, said all allegations levelled against the National Assembly are mere fabrications.

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