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Video shows head of Nigerian government agency passing out while testifying before House of Representatives panel probing over $100million fiscal improprieties at the agency

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The acting head of Nigeria’s Niger Delta Development Commission passed out while testifying before  committee of the country’s federal House of Representatives on Monday morning
The probe panel sitting in the capital Abuja is conducting an investigative hearing into  alleged mismanagement by the NDDC running into billions of dollars
Professor Kemebradikumo Pondei, who was appointed acting Managing Director of the NDDC in February, passed out while giving an account of his tenure before the panel
Before fainting Pondei reportedly, failed in attempts to defend several itemized expenditure he authorized including $33.51million to provide COVID-19 palliative for members of the Commission, as well as, $16.5million payment to a communications company
He was being grilled on funds designated for students on the commission’s academic scholarship when he passed out
After he was resuscitated Pondei left the panel shortly afterwards as he continued to feel unwell feeling
Questions of of conflict of interest raised by Pondei on Thursday led to the chairman of the panel recusing himself before hearings began on Monday
The hearing continues
Kemebradikumo Pondei 2A till from a video making the rounds on social media shows the NDDC acting head, Prof. Kemebradikumo Pondei, passed out during House hearing on Monday in Abuja. Pondei was testifying on expenditure at the agency running over a $100million in the face of a federal govt mandated audit
Kemebradikumo Pondei, acting managing director of the Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC), passed out while giving an account of his stewardship at the investigative panel of the House of Representatives Committee probing the commission today July 20.

Pondei passed out after he failed to defend the $33.51million [N1.3 billion] he approved to provide COVID-19 palliative for members of the Commission. He also could not defend the $16.5million [N640 million],  he approved to one clear point communications limited.
He was being asked about the money meant for students on scholarship when he passed out.
Following the incident, the hearing went into a 30 minute recess, while EMT’s attempted to revive the ailing man.  He was taken out for medical attention.

Watch the video below

Pondei collapsed where he was seated as members of the House Committee on NDDC grilled him.
The committee had grilled him for about 45 minutes before he passed out.
Pondei has been rushed out of the Conference Room 231, venue of the investigative hearing on illegal spending and mismanagement of funds in the commission.
Meanwhile committee chairman Olubunmi Tunji-Ojo, di NDDC  who is heading the House probe committee of the Niger Delta Development Commission investigative committee of Nigeria House of Representatives, before hearings resumed Monday in the halls of the National Assembly in Abuja.
Tunji-Ojo step down in the wake of dramatic accusations launched by Pondei at the last sitting of the probe panel, last week.
Kemebradikumo Pondei 3Security agents rush Prof Pondei out of the House hearing on Monday. The event in the national capital Abuja
On Thursday 16 July, 2020, management of NDDC led by di Acting MD, Prof. Kemebradikumo Pondei staged walkout from the panel after demanding that the chairman of the probe panel, Rep. Bunmi Tunji-Ojo, to recuse himself.
After the walk out Thursday, Prof. Pondei issued  a statement: “We for NDDC are not comfortable with the Chairman of this committee  presiding over the hearing. because he is an  interested party and we do not believe NDDC can get justice because he cannot  preside in a case where he is indicted.”
The House committee subsequently issued an arrest warrant for Pondei and the other members of his team.
The forensic audit on the NNDC ordered by the government of President Muhammadu Buhari appears to have kicked up a hornet’s nest, leading to a standoff between the The Minister of Niger Delta Affairs, former Senator Godswill Akpabio and the Acting Managing Director and head of the Interim Management Committee IMC of NDDC Dr. Joi Nunieh.

Godswill Akpabio [left], and Joi Nunieh 1In the test of wills between minister for Niger Delta Affairs, Sen. Godswill Akpabio [left], and the interim head of the NDDC Dr. Joi Nunieh [right]. There was only going to be one winner, but it has taken a toll on all involved
The Niger Delta Development Commission was set up by the Nigeria for the welfare of the states in the oil rich Niger Delta basin. While producing the bulk of Nigeria’s crude oil and revenue, the region has notoriously suffered from decades of neglect.

The administration of President Buhari ordered an audit of the agency’s finances, and Godswill Akpabio, minister for Niger Delta Affairs inaugurated the IMC in October last year, to conduct forensic audit of  more than $5.16 billion [2 trillion Naira] alleged debts incurred by the NDDC since it’s inception as a Commission.

In January 2020, Dr. Nunieh the interim head of the IMC began contract verification exercise to register and verify all vendors with NDDC, to prepare for di actual forensic audit.

A month later Nunieh was fired and replaced as Acting Managing Director by Prof. Kemebradikumo Pondei, as she got into a public spat with Akpabio who accused of insubordination. Nunieh who has accused the minister of corruption and sexual harassment claims the minister attempted to hijack the audit in a bid to cover his tracks.
Sources say the real disagreement was over the choice of external auditors to lead the forensic audit of di NDDC.
Allegedly,  the Federal Executive Council had approved a Nigerian firm, Messrs Olumuyiwa Bashiru and Co. as lead consultants for the audit.
Nunieh  on the other hand wanted the audit to be conducted by the county’s Financial Intelligence Unit, supervised by the World Bank to avoid manipulation of the process.

Akpabio called for a tripartite meeting between the ministry, NDDC and the lead consultant, which Nunieh refused to attend.
Subsequently she was removed from office by the president for gross insubordination, allegedly, at the insistence of Akpabio.
Efforts from EMT’s  to revive Pondei were however effective when he regained consciousness shortly afterwards he later left the probe panel after feeling unwell and could not continue his defense.
The panel took a 30-minute recess before resuming with question time for the minister.
At resumption Femi Gbajabiamila, the Speaker of Nigeria’s House of Representatives, joined the probe panel at the venue of the investigative hearing being conducted on the alleged mismanagement by the NDDC.
On arrival the Speaker  said the decision by the Chairman, Olubunmi Tunji-Ojo, to recuse himself showed lawmakers were out to ensure a credible exercise.
The hearing continues

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