Senate Committe clears Umana, dismisses N480bn fraud allegation


The Senate Committee on Ethics, Privileges & Public Petitions has exonerated Mr. Umana Okon Umana, Minister of Niger Delta Affairs, of all the false allegations of misappropriation and illegal sack of workers levelled against him and dismissed as baseless the petition in which those allegations were made. Addressing the press in Abuja, chairman of the committee, Ayo Akinyelure, said the committee had determined that the allegation in the petition that the minister was hatching a plot to misappropriate N480 billion funds of the Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC) was false and baseless.Senator Akinyelure said the committee has confirmed as earlier explained by the Minister that there was no attempt at any wrongful act, but a lawful plan for core regional projects to be included in the amended NDDC 2021/2022 budget as approved by President Muhammadu Buhari for a new regional development scheme in the nine states of Niger Delta.The Senate committee chairman commended the minister for working to ensure the transmission of the NDDC budgets for 2021/2022 and 2023 to the National Assembly for legislative approval. He also expressed satisfaction with the Minister’s contribution to the efforts to constitute the governing board of the NDDC which is currently undergoing legislative approval at the Senate.The committee dismissed as untrue the allegation that the minister wanted to sack the interim administrator (IA) of the NDDC, noting that the tenure of the IA had come to an end as his appointment was meant to last for the period of the Forensic Audit into the activities of the NDDC.On alleged sack of 100 workers of the NDDC, the committee noted that there was no evidence that such disengagement had ministerial approval and urged the minister to ensure that cases of undocumented employments and unauthorized sack of workers of the Commission were addressed.The committee praised President Buhari for approving the constitution of the Board of the NDDC and for the transmission of the NDDc budgets of 2021/2022 and 2023 to the National Assembly for appropriation.

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