The acting managing director of the Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC) Professor Kemebradikumo Pondei has alleged that the agency’s 2019 budget was padded with about 500 non-existing projects.
Professor Pondei, who spoke to journalists in Port Harcourt on Tuesday, explained that a huge amount of money was appropriated for bogus projects.
He was reacting to allegations of corruption levelled against the Commission’s interim management committee.
Pondei, a Professor of Medicine at the Niger Delta University, was appointed by Buhari in February 2020.
In October 2019, President Buhari ordered a forensic audit of the operations of the NDDC.
Pondei is leading the President’s forensic audit.
“We discovered that after NDDC forwarded its budget to the national assembly committees on NDDC, what was sent back to the commission was no longer recognisable,” Pondei said.
“The 2019 budget was classically over padded, with almost 500 new projects inserted to it when it was sent back to us.
“We found out the budget appropriation was done in such a way that meaningful projects were allocated very little sums of money.
“It is unfortunate that the 2019 budget will expire on May 31 without any project executed in the region. It was passed two months to the end of its implementation period.”
Pondei also alleged that some members of the national assembly have put pressure on the agency not to submit certain files to forensic auditors.