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Fresh crisis at NDDC

NDDC Crisis: Onochie accuses MD of Illegality, seeks signatory to NDDC’s accounts as Ndoma-Egba, describes crisis a misapprehension of the law

Another round of fresh crisis has bedevilled the Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC) as the Chairman of the commission’s board, Lauretta Onochie and the Managing Director, Samuel Ogbuku, openly engaged one another in corruption allegations exchanges at the National Assembly.

At an investigative hearing by the Senate Committee on Unauthoried Spending in the Commission, Ogbuku, who was represented by the Executive Director in charge of Finance and Administration, Charles Airhiavere, accused Onochie of over stepping her bounds by desperately seeking to be a signatory to NDDC’s accounts.

He alleged that Onochie had even written a letter to the Accountant General of the Federation for approval to make her a signatory to the accounts.

Onochie, however, said the decision for her to be a signatory to the accounts, was taken by some members of the board at one of its meeting, adding that it was not a personal decision.

She said that the request for change of signatory was rejected because the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) directed the Managing Director to ensure that her confirmation is sought in every financial dealings.

Meanwhile, Senator Victor Ndoma-Egba, a Senior Advocate of Nigeria, SAN, and former Chairman of the NDDC board has spoken on how he presided over the commission’s board without such crisis as are being experienced today.

In an Interview with TNN Senator Victor Ndoma-Egba, opined that the crisis in the NDDC is a misapprehension of the law establishing the Commission.

“The Chairman is not an executive Chairman; so you cannot say as Chairman, I have decreed, you need the approval of the board. So I think that, what is causing the confusion is a misapprehension of the law establishing the NDDC; either a misapprehension or it hasn’t been properly read. And then because the NDDC has not been allowed to grow, you don’t have any established tradition because by now, apart from the law, we should have had an established tradition, because NDDC was established in the year 2000, that’s 23 years ago, it’s long enough for certain things to be traditions. But there is no board of NDDC that has survived its full term. So those traditions haven’t been established, and then there is too much outside interference”

“The NDDC is a creation of law. The law establishing the NDDC provides for the powers of the board and the powers of management. The overall powers of managing the NDDC reside with the board; they provide the policy direction and all of that.”

“Now, management carries out the day to day management of the commission and they also implement the decisions of the board. But ordinarily, there shouldn’t be a problem because the powers are clearly defined. But you see, where the problem comes in, is on the issue of control of funds, that is where the issue comes in because by the various laws, Fiscal Responsibility Act, and even the NDDC Act, makes the chief executive officer the accounting officer, and in some cases, liability for infractions of those laws are personal on the Chief Executive.”

“So, the Chief Executive says look, ‘when it comes to money, I’m in charge.’ But the Chief Executive cannot spend outside the budget, which must be approved by the board. So, all you need do is to exercise the powers that have been given to you in a very creative way that will check the board without necessarily impeding the running of the commission.”

Watch video here👇

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