The Coalition of New Nigeria Transparency and Anti-Corruption has raised the alarm over alleged corruption and high-handedness in the recently established North East Development Commission.
The group in a statement by its Secretary, Tijani Umar, on Thursday said that if the Presidency and the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission does not intervene on time, the NEDC shall soon be consumed by high-level corruption.
The group, who accused the Managing Director of the commission, Mr Mohammed Alkali, of displaying disdain for due process, transparency and the rule of law, further cited illegal award of over-inflated contracts running into billions of naira by him without recourse to the board as stipulated by law as part of the issue bedevilling the agency.
The group wondered how close N100bn voted to the commission barely one year ago had been squandered without any significant impact on suffering refugees across the North-East region.
The CNNTAC alleged that Minister of Humanitarian Affairs and Disaster Management, Sadiya Umar Farouq, in collaboration with Alkali illegally took about N5bn recently to purchase vehicles for the military against its scope of operation and board’s approval.
The statement reads, “We are in possession of other documents showing the purchases of choice properties by close staff and associates of the MD in highbrow neighbourhoods of Abuja, Kaduna and Maiduguri which can be traced to over-inflated and non-existent contracts.
“Another massive corruption scheme is on the verge of being implemented in the name of a housing estate in Maiduguri without the board’s knowledge and approval.
“About N5bn has allegedly been spent on COVID-19 supplies without approval of the board. The MD single-handedly took care of all the Coronavirus supplies. There is massive contract-splitting in the commission.”
The group added that it shows that Chairman of the NEDC, Major-General Paul Tarfa (rtd), lacked enough capacity to run the commission as he is said to be unable to control the agency’s MD and other board members.
A senior official of the commission, who asked not to be named, denied the allegations, saying all members of the agency were working to meet the mandate given to them by the Federal Government to rebuild the North-East region that had witnessed massive destruction as a result of the activities of Boko Haram terrorists.