***Probes N27 billion PHCN Pension Fund
By Henry Umoru
THE Senate, Monday, issued an arrest warrant against the entire management of the Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC) to appear before it for refusing to honour its several invitations.
According to the NDDC Management team, it will come and give explanation over alleged misappropriation of N6.25 billion Covid-19 Palliative Fund for the region.
The warrant of Arrest was issued against the Interim Administrator of NDDC, Effiong Akwa on Monday by Senator Ayo Akinyelure, Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, Ondo Central Committee on Ethics, Privileges and Public Petition because the team had severally refused to appear before the Committee following several invitations.
The position of the Senate was sequel to a petition by former Chairman, NDDC Covid-19 Palliative Committee, Chief Sobomabo Jackrich; alleging misappropriation and diversion of the palliative funds.
The alleged infraction by the dissolved Interim Management Committee (IMC) led by Professor, Daniel Pondei.
The petitioner asked the IMC to return all monies it has received from the Federal Government; including remittances from the International Oil Companies (IOCs) back into government coffer.
Jackrich had in his petition revealed that as the Chairman of the Presidential Committee, he was completely sidelined as the IMC hijacked the process to perpetrate the fraud after he insisted on transparency and that due process must be followed.
According to him, to cover up their deceit, the IMC staged managed the distribution of a few expired food items and old medical equipment from NDDC warehouse to deceive the unsuspecting members of the public and mislead the President.
When the matter came up for hearing yesterday, officials were for the fifth consecutive time conspicuously absent.
Against this backdrop, Chairman of the Committee, Akinyelure to wield the big stick, sought for a warrant of Arrest to force NDDC officials to appear before it at its next meeting.
Meanwhile, the Senate Committee has opened investigation into the alleged Missing N27billion meant for the payment of the pension of former staff of Power Holding Company of Nigeria (PHCN).
The probe was sequel to a petition by the disengaged staff under the aegis of National Association of Disengaged Staff of PHCN.
Presenting the petition, the Deputy Chairman of the PHCN workers, Alhaji Lawal Abdul Magini told the Senate panel that it relied on some media reports alleging that N27 billion meant to clear pension was approved and paid but was diverted by a private insurance company, BestWorth insurance Brokers.
The workers through their lawyer, Emmanuel Okere told the Senate panel that the matter is currently being investigated by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC); calling on it to use its power to invite the Bureau For Public Enterprises (BPE), EFCC, BestWorth insurance Brokers and Polaris Bank for questioning.
Senate however stepped down the petition, advising the petitioners and their lawyer to furnish it with more documentary evidence to drive its investigation to logical conclusion as it could not rely solely on what it described as circumstantial evidence.
Vanguard News Nigeria