September 4, 2021
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Over 13,777 NDDC projects were compromised — Report

Posted by News Express | 4 September 2021 | 93 times

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THE Federal Government on Thursday received the report on the forensic audit of the Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC), with a promise to prosecute those who were compromised in the misuse of about N6 trillion appropriated for the commission between 2001 and August 2019. 

The Attorney General of the Federation (AGF) and Minister of Justice, Abubakar Malami, who received the report from the Minister of Niger Delta Affairs, Senator Godswill Akpabio in Abuja, on behalf of President Muhammadu Buhari said, “Government is worried with the colossal loss occasioned by the uncompleted and unverified development in the Niger Delta region in spite of the huge allocation of resources to uplift the living standards of the people in the region.”

Malami said it is important for government and the public to be properly informed of what has been spent and how it was spent and added that, government will not hesitate to strategically implement all aspects of the audit exercise that will promote probity and greater prosperity for the Niger Delta region and the country as a whole.

While noting that the execution of over 13,777 projects were compromised in the region, the minister said the Federal Government was also concerned with, “The multitudes of bank accounts, amounting to 362 and lack of proper reconciliation of accounts.

“Government will apply the law to remedy the deficiencies outlined in the audit report. This will include but not limited to initiation of criminal investigations, prosecution, recovery of funds not properly utilised for the purpose for which they were meant for, among others,” he said.

According to the minister, the president ordered a holistic forensic audit of the activities of the NDDC from inception in 2001 to August 2019, in response to the yearnings of the people to reposition the commission for effective service delivery. Between 2001 and 2019, Malami said government approved about N3.4 trillion as budgetary allocation and N2.4 trillion as income from statutory and non-statutory sources, “which brings the total to about N6 trillion given to the NDDC.”

In this view, he said the Federal Government engaged a leading forensics audit and 16 reputable audit firms to conduct the audit exercise and that government is determined to address challenges militating against the delivery of the mandate of the NDDC to the people of the Niger Delta Region. He said the report in the forensic audit on the NDDC and the recommendations of the committee will be critically analysed for necessary action and implementation.

Giving an overview of the forensic audit report, the lead forensic auditor, Alhaji Kabir Ahmed said efforts should be made to reconcile and recover the sum of $4 billion outstanding three per cent contribution from oil producing companies in the region.

The report, he said wants the NDDC establishment Act to be amended to accommodate the deduction of 50 per cent ecological funds due to member states of the Niger Delta Region at source by the Federal Government and such should be remitted immediately to the commission.

The report also recommended that amendment should be made to enable the Federal Inland Revenue Service (FIRS) to collect all revenue due to the commission from oil companies on behalf of the commission. It also recommended the review of the master plan of the NDDC to reflect the present realities and thinking, this, the report noted should be carried out every five years.

“That the provisions of the Public Procurement Act (PPA) should be strictly adhered to and all violations to the Act, such as contract splitting and other due process violations must be avoided,” the report recommended among others.

While submitting the audit report to the AGF, the minister of Niger Delta Affairs, Godswill Akpabio commended President Buhari for the constitution and funding of the audit committee. 

Akpabio called on the president to give critical consideration to the implementation of the recommendations of the committee to help in repositioning the NDDC.

(Nigerian Tribune)

Source: News Express


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