The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) has detained former managing director of the Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC), Nsima Ekere in connection with a probe of N47bn contracts.
The contracts were allegedly awarded between 2017 and 2019.
A top source in the commission, who spoke in confidence, said: “This commission is investigating alleged diversion of N47billion through registered contractors of NDDC.
Some phony contracts were allegedly awarded for diversion purpose.
“Ekere is undergoing interrogation and we have detained him.”
Responding to a question, the source added: “I think he got hints of a surveillance on him and voluntarily reported to the EFCC’s office in Lagos.”
Established in 2000 as successor to the Oil Mineral Producing Areas Development Commission to hasten development and tackle ecological problems, arising from the exploration of oil minerals in the largely neglected oil-producing areas of the country, the NDDC is believed to be among the most corrupt agencies in the country.
The commission, according to its enabling law, has the mandate to construct roads, develop jetties, health facilities and promote education, job creation, agriculture, fisheries, housing, urban development, among other things.
The law also charges the NDDC with the responsibility of preparing “master plans and schemes designed to promote the physical development of the Niger Delta area and the estimates of the costs of implementing the master plans and schemes.
In 2020, the House of Representatives set up an ad hoc committee to investigate claims that N81.5bn was diverted during the COVID-19 lockdown. However, its acting Managing Director, Kemebradikumo Pondei, “slumped” while being questioned.
A former Speaker of the House of Representatives, Patricia Etteh, is currently in detention over an alleged contract fraud involving the NDDC.