By Joseph Edegbo –
The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC, has arrested a former Managing Director of the Niger Delta Development Commission, Nsima Ekere, for alleged contract fraud worth forty-seven billion naira (N47bn).
According to the Nigeria anticraft agency, EFCC, Ekere allegedly received kickbacks from contractors between 2017 and 2019.
The former NDDC boss, who was the governorship candidate of the All Progressives Congress in Akwa Ibom in 2019, was said to have been picked up by officials of the Lagos branch of the EFCC.
According to a source from the EFCC “Nsima Ekere is currently in custody at the Lagos zonal office for fraud to the tune of N47bn.
“These monies were paid to him as kickbacks by registered contractors of the NDDC.
“We have traced a choice property to him in Lagos while investigations continue.”
NDDC was 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, is believed to be among the most corrupt agencies in Nigeria in recent times.
NDDC as 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 .
The law also charges the commission 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.
It would be recalled that in 2020, the House of Representatives set up an adhoc committee to investigate claims that N81.5bn was diverted during the COVID-19 lockdown where its acting Managing Director, Kemebradikumo Pondei, slumped while being questioned.
More also, a former Speaker of the House of Representatives, Patricia Etteh, is currently in detention over an alleged contract fraud involving the NDDC.
The source further added that there will be series of arrests over fraudulents contracts in NDDC in the next few days.