The Senate committee on ethics, privileges and public petitions has exonerated the minister of Niger Delta Affairs, Mr Umana Okon Umana of alleged misappropriation and illegal sack of workers levelled against him.
The committee described as baseless the petition in which the allegations were made.
Addressing the press in Abuja yesterday, the chairman of the committee, Senator 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.
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.
He 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 the 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