THE allegations and counter allegations of illicit Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC) contracts got  messier on Monday  with the management of the intervention agency and the Chairman of the Senate Committee on Niger Delta, Peter Nwaoboshi throwing brickbats at one another.

While the NDDC alleged that Nwaoboshi used 11 companies to secure 3.6bn contracts from the commission in 2016, the senator challenged the agency to approach  the Corporate Affairs Commission (CAC)  to unravel the owners of the said firms.

The NDDC said: “Our attention has been drawn to a statement by Senator  Nwaoboshi, chairman of the Senate Committee on Niger Delta  that the  NDDC awarded a contract of N500 million to the  of Niger Delta Affairs, Senator  Akpabio, which he did not execute.

”The commission wishes to state that it has searched through its records and there is no evidence of any contract awarded to Senator Akpabio or any company associated with him by the NDDC.

”From our findings, the person who has questions to answer to the Niger Delta People is Senator Nwaoboshi.

“Our records show that Nwaoboshi used 11 front companies (owned or traceable to him) to secure a contract of N3.6 billion in September 2016, in what is perhaps the biggest single case of looting of the Commission’s resources.

”The inventory records show that these items were supplied and received on Senator Nwaoboshi’s business premises and warehouse. Meanwhile, the contracts were awarded to him.

”However, some of the items supplied to Nwaoboshi’s warehouse through his cronies, were later resold to the Delta state government, while the others were sold to other states through contracts awarded to him.

”All supply agreements were signed by one and the same person being Mr. Agbamuche Nelson, traceable to Senator Nwaoboshi.

“This is in flagrant contravention of section 58(4) (a) and (d) of the Public Procurement Act. No wonder Sen. Nwaoboshi and his cohorts are jittery about the ongoing forensic audit exercise in the NDDC and are doing everything possible to derail it.

”We believe that until Senator Nwaoboshi can absolve himself of his role in the looting of the resources of the Commission, he should step aside from any investigative activity against the Commission. NDDC deserves the freedom to deliver on its mandate.”

Swiftly,   Nwaoboshi, who   denied being  the  owner or part owner of  the 11 companies, described what was happening in the NDDC as  ”national embarrassment  that must stop.”

The Senator’s  response was contained in a statement by his Special Assistant on Legislative/Media Matters, Luka Igbonoba, in Abuja titled: “This National Embarrassment Must Stop.”

The statement said: “They listed 11 companies and ascribed ownership to distinguished Senator Peter Nwaoboshi.

“These are companies that he does not know nor has anything to do with. A simple search at Corporate Affairs Commission will, at least, show both former and present directors.

“How do you libelously claim a man owns companies that perhaps belongs to other people?

“Apparently, the officials might have generated names of companies they have probably used to siphon the people’s common patrimony, everyone involved must face the wrath of the law as it is expected that due diligence should precede any contract award.

“In any case, if the contracts were actually awarded in 2016 as alleged, the forensic audit which covers the period is expected to expose every detail surrounding these contracts and save the public from this shameless falsehood.

“We strongly challenge NDDC to avail the public of the names of directors and shareholders of all the companies.

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