MON, JULY 20 2020-theG&BJournal– Proceedings were disrupted this morning during the House of Representatives Public Hearing on the Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC) following the sudden collapse of Daniel Pondei, the acting managing director of the Commission under cross-examination by members of the Committee.
Pondei appeared nervous when the questioning began and showed signs of irritations when the Committee members began probing him on the sources of the billions of naira he spent from February 2020 when he was appointed to July 2020.
During the interrogation, he claimed that the Commission under him has received a whopping N72 billion, paid N1.2 billion to ‘’ourselves’’ (for staff) as COVID-19 palliatives, N641 million to clear Point Communication to help the forensic auditors identify project sites and another N536 million paid for Save Lives Campaign organised by the NDDC. He also claimed that the monies meant for Nigerian Scholarship students are still being processed.
Stuttering Pondei on cross-examination could not provide clear explanation with regards to who gave approval for his expenditure or the sources of the money he is spending since no appropriation has been made to the Commission, and the 2019 budget has elapsed since May 31st 2020.
Pondei at this point, began displaying signs of fatigue and placed his head on the desk and appeared to have passed out before he was quickly taken out of the hearing room.
The House Committee consequently adjourned hearing for 30 minutes.
Cairo Odjougho, one of the directors of the Commission as well as the Minister of Niger Delta Affairs, Senator Godswill Akpabio, who were scheduled to testify today, were present at the Committee’s hearing before the sudden end to proceedings.
The Chairman of the Committee, Olubunmi Tunji-Ojo before the proceedings today, recused herself from the hearing after an interview granted to a national newspaper by the Pondei claiming that he was ‘’pursuing a personal vendetta.’’