Femi Gbajabiamila

ACTING Managing Director of the Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC) Kemebradikumo Pondei will no longer appear before the House of Representatives panel probing him the agency’s Interim Management Committee (IMC), Speaker Femi Gbajabiamila, said on Monday.

Speaking after Prof Pondei was taken to a hospital after he fainted at the probe venue, Gbajabiamila directed the panel to use documents he already tendered to the panel to reach its conclusion.

Prof Pondei, who is the managing director of the agency’s Interim Management Committee (IMC), collapsed while he was being grilled by the panel over allegations bordering on the mismanagement of funds.

Wishing Pondei a quick recovery, the Speaker apologised over the poor condition of the hearing room which was stuffy.

He said: “We wish him well. I have been here barely five minutes and I am already sweating profusely. So, I do understand and apologise to everybody here for the poorly conducive atmosphere. I want to say at this point and make it clear, that it is not an adversarial hearing. It is not even inquisitorial.

“It is a fact-finding mission for the people of Nigeria. Just to make things better and we should handle this as such. No one is under inquisition. The fact must come out and that is why the committee is doing what it is doing.

“Because of these conditions in this hall, we don’t need to hear further from the acting MD because he has already submitted his written report. I think you can use the documents to do the work that needs to be done.

“Starting from the minister, Dr. Cairo Ojougbo and all the executive directors – we are sorry under the conditions which you have been invited and my members are under the same conditions. We wish Mr Pondei all the best.”

Gbajabiamila commended Olubunmi Tunji-Ojo, chairman of the probe panel, for recusing himself from the investigation.

“I want to commend the chairman of the committee who this morning recused himself from being part of the proceedings. It shows the level of integrity of himself and by extension his committee and further extension to the House of Representatives. I believe he has set the stage for a fair hearing,” the speaker said

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