Sobomabo Jackrich, Chairman of the Niger Delta Development Commission COVID-19 Palliatives Distribution Committee, has alleged that the Interim Management Committee of the commission led by Prof. Kemebradikumo Pondei spent N6.2 billion on rotten food palliatives.
He also revealed that many recipients of the food items returned them for fear of being poisoned as they were rotten and the medicine expired.
Jackrich said this in a petition presented to the Senate Committee on Ethics, Privileges and Public Petitions by him and other members of his committee on Friday and sighted by The Punch.
According to the document, the petitioner said he was officially inaugurated along with members of his committee on May 6 to oversee the distribution of palliatives in the nine Niger Delta states.
He added that his committee was made up of directors in the commission covering the nine states.
“The palliatives distribution was officially flagged off (sic) in Port Harcourt on May 21, 2020 with the mandate to commence distribution. Today, all of that can be regrettably described as a show of shame and a scam.
“The N6.25bn that was magnanimously approved by Mr President to help the poor and indigents of the Niger Delta during the difficult period of the pandemic as palliatives has curiously been allegedly misappropriated and embezzled by the IMC of the NDDC and their co-conspirators,” the petition read.
“As the Chairman of the PDC, my findings are not only that the money cannot be accounted for, but there was nothing on the ground to show that that N6.2bn of our hard-earned taxpayers’ money was invested for its original purpose which the President approved.
“The materials and supplies, according to the statement, were to be done through Emergency Procurement method as provided in Sections 42(b) (c) and 43 of the Public Procurement Act, 2007 but the Procurement Act was not complied with, particularly Section 43 Subsection 3 and 4.”
Jackrich alleged that though the palliatives were meant for the indigent and the poor, just a handful of food items, “though staged-managed,” were provided and distributed to an insignificant number of persons in the Niger Delta states under a “camera-party.”
According to him, some of the food items were politically shared among the “IMC choice areas,” including states of choice which aligned with them politically, allegedly to undermine the original essence of the palliatives approved with taxpayers’ monies.