The Ag Managing Director/Chief Executive Officer of the Interim Management Committee (IMC) of the Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC), Professor Kemebradikumo Pondei on Monday fainted as he was being asked questions on alleged fraudulent and unreasonable spending by the Commission during a public hearing by the House of Representatives (HOR).
Meanwhile, partial relief has been granted to the embattled Pondei as Speaker of the House of Representatives, Femi Gbajabiamila, has disclosed that the NNDC MD/CEO will not appear before the Committee again.
Gbajabiamila disclosed this at the resumption of the session following the adjournment after Pondei collapsed.
The Speaker who was responding to questions said that the committee will adopt the written response of the MD.
According to him, “There would be no need for the MD of NDDC to appear anymore since he has submitted a written response.
“I wish Mr. Pondei safe and speedy recovery and I have also sent the Medical Director of the National Assembly to follow up to ascertain the condition of the MD. Thank you very much and I, therefore, hand over to the current chairman of the Committee, Mr. Thomas Ereyitomi to continue with the hearing.”
Professor Pondei fainted despite having won his battle to get the Chairman of the HOR Committee on NDDC, Hon Olubumi Tunji-Ojo whom he accused of biais against the IMC to step aside before the public hearing began.
Hon Olubumi Tunji-Ojo (APC-Ondo), had stepped down following accusations of involvement in the billions of Naira corrupt practices in the Commission.
The IMC had on Thursday, July 16, walked-out on lawmakers during a public hearing after accusing Tunji-Ojo of corrupt practices in the Commission.
Before stepping aside, Tunji-Ojo said that as a federal lawmaker he had kept his integrity in service to the people and would continue to do so.
Said he, “I am not a President or Governor and so I do not enjoy immunity. If you have a case against me, send it to the relevant security agencies and if I have a case to answer, I will appear.
“I read in a national newspaper where the IMC accused me of being on a revenge mission; this is not true; this investigation is about the emancipation of the Niger Delta people.
“This is not about any individual but the good of the Niger Delta people and so I step aside as chairman to allow all parties to have a sense of free and fair hearing,” he said.
Following his withdrawal from the chairmanship of the hearing, proceedings began chaired by the Deputy Chairman of the committee, Rep. Thomas Ereyitomi
Shockingly, Prof Pondei slumped during the hearing as he was being drilled by the HOR Committee members.
Immediately he collapsed, he was rushed out of the Hearing Room 231, venue of the investigation for medical attention.
Pondei could bear the heat for only about 45 minutes before he fainted.
The Minister of Niger Delta Affairs, Senator Godswill Akpabio who was also invited by the House Committee was present and was expected to be questioned too as he has been accused of also benefitting from illegal contracts from the NDDC.