Date Published: 06/23/11
INITIATIVE FOR THE RESTORATION OF ACCOUNTABILTY (IRA)
Ekeki, Yenagoa, Bayelsa State
Press Release on Matters Arising in NDDC
On the 18 th of June, 2011, Pointblanknews.com an online media carried a very disturbing publication titled “ How NDDC Finance Director illegally withdrew $40m (N5.6 billion) from Commission's Account. The publication is purported to have been written by a non-existent group called Society for Good Governance (SGG). As if that was not enough, the orchestrators of the publication accused the Executive Director, Finance and administrator, Pastor P.Z.Aginighan to be the arrow head of a plot to suspend the Managing Director, Mr. Chibuzor Ugwoha and pitching the Board against management.
Ordinarily, knowing the impeccable record of Pastor Aginighan, we would have wished it away like a mere idle talk or somebody who is gobbelling to seek cheap blackmail against a man who has an unblemished record even as Acting Director of NDDC. It is gratifying to note that the same Pointblanknews.com having investigated the matter had discovered that the tissues of lies levied against Pastor Aginighan were orchestrated to smear his reputation. We believe that darkness cannot overpower light.
We are indeed delighted that Pointblanknews.com - the publishers of the petition, for conducting investigative journalism. The reason for the petition collapsed before simple logic. Pointblanknews investigations showed that the controversial 2009 transfer of ($40m), N5.6Billion, from an offshore account of the Niger Delta Development Commission, (NDDC) in the United Kingdom, to two local branches in Nigeria purported to have been made the Executive Director, Finance and Administration, Power Z. Aginighan was actually carried out when he was Acting Managing Director to ensure that NDDC had enough funds to pay contractors, since there was no Board in place at that time. The transfer of the money is a normal transaction that is usually done by the agency because contractors are not paid in dollars and before the inauguration of the board, there was no enough funds to meet up payment of contractors.
Again, even though he approved the transfer on August 5, the funds became active in the Commissions account on August 10, 2009, when a new Board was already in place and Chibuzor Ugwoha, made Chief Executive. The fact has also been established that Aginighan made the request on August 5, 2009, on August 6 2009 at about 2:00pm, the new board of the NDDC was inaugurated with Ugwoha as the Managing Director. Essentially too, the account of the agency’s in Union Bank and UBA was credited on August 10, 2009 with $20 Million each. An usual transfer of huge sums take a while to reflect. This was four clear days after Ugwoha took charge of all executive duties.
But there was a dramatic twist that when Mr Chibuzor Ugwoha directed the transfer of $20m from an ailing Union Bank to First Bank both in Nigeria at a time when PZ Aginighan was no longer the Acting MD/CEO. Accordingly, the expenditure of the $40 Million in the two accounts of NDDC was no longer under his authority but that of the new board. Therefore it is preposterous for anyone to suggest or accuse anyone that the money is stolen. It is only a sinking man who has misappropriated the Commission’s fund that may be looking for someone to blame. Thus Ugwoha’s allegations are not only wretched, but well orchestrated to malign the reputation of the former Ag. MD of NDDC – who has been executing his office with due diligence. Aginighan’s record of service is there for everybody to see.
The Initiative for the Restoration of Accountability, in her independent investigation found that the MD Mr. Chibuzor Ugwoha had earlier been petitioned by the Niger Delta Integrity Group alleging that he was highhanded, profligate and had stultified the Board from carrying out its statutory functions. Other allegations, for which Ugwoha is facing the anti-graft agencies include brazen none adhere to the NDDC Act, even as he rules the Commission, using circulars issued by the former Secretary to the Government of the Federation. Investigations showed that 95% of conflicts between himself and the Board are cash related. We discovered that the MD is grossly incompetent to administer the Commission as he demonstrates deliberate disregard for the NDDC Act.
The official position of Initiative for the Restoration of Accountability is that the Managing Director Mr. Chibuzor Ugwuoha should apologize to Pastor P.Z. Aginighan, for criminally trying to frame him up, apologize to the Board by wiping up ethnic sentiments, and then resign as MD of the Commission. Pastor P.Z Aginighan has acted in several capacities and at no time was he found wanting. He has never been linked to any case of corruption because of his high regard for morality and the fear of God. Even when he was Ag MD, there was never a time any case of corruption was leveled against him. He is a man of the people, with an untainted record of service. It is criminal to attempt to drag the name of such a man in the mud.
Evidence at the disposal of the Initiative also shows that a PDP Chieftain connives with Mr. Ugwoha to award frivolous contracts without due process. He does not also consult the Board before awarding contracts above his approval limits. This is a flagrant violation of the Fiscal Responsibility Act and the Public Procurement Act.
It is only when the Board works in synch with management that the accelerated development we envisage can happen. Sadly, this has never been the case since Ugwoha took office as MD. The Initiative for the Restoration of Accountability appeals to His Excellency, President Goodluck Jonathan, GCFR, to ensure that these anomalies are addressed before the Mr. Ugwoha does more damage to the reputation of the Commission and the Federal Government, which created the Commission to deliver value to the people of the Region.
Dr. Ebikebina Theophilus Barr. Eghosa Osaro
For and on behalf Initiative for the Restoration of Accountability
Dated this 22 day of June, 2011