The sum of N1.5bn was used as COVID-19 relief fund for staff of the Niger Delta Development Commission, Kemebradikumo Pondei, Acting Managing Director of the commission, said.

Pondei disclosed this at the investigative hearing on the N40bn corruption allegation against the commission.

The Senate had on May 5 set up a seven-man ad-hoc committee to investigate the financial recklessness of the Interim Management Committee of the NDDC.

The MD and other delegates from the commission appeared before the committee on Thursday for the hearing.  Kemebradikumo Pondei

The lawmakers raised concerns over the spending at the NDDC, noting that the commission spent N40bn last three months without due process.

However, Pondei when giving account of how money was spent, said staff of the agency had to be catered for, too.

He said, “We used it (N1.5bn) to take care of ourselves. We are NDDC, we need to take care of ourselves too.”

Part of the audit report read out by the Chairman of the committee, Olubunmi Adetunmbi, said N3.1bn was spent as COVID-19 funds between October 2019 and May 2020.

In the report, the lawmaker said, "N10m was paid to one person, N7m to two people, N5m to three people, 148 people took N3m each, 157 people got N1.5m each, 497 people got N1m each and 464 people were paid N600,000 each.”

Another N475m was given to the police to purchase face masks and hand sanitisers, he added.

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