*Photo R-L: Malami, Akpabio*
President Muhammadu Buhari on Thursday formally received the report of the Forensic Audit of the Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC), with a vow to implement to the letter, recommendations of the report, saying,” the Federal Government will initiate criminal investigation, prosecute and recover all funds not properly utilized for the public purposes for which they were meant for.”
He noted further that, “the Federal Government will without hesitation, strategically implement all aspect of the report that will promote probity and greater prosperity for the people of the Niger Delta Region and Nigeria as a whole.”
Speaking through his Attorney General and Minister of Justice, Abubakar Malami, who received the report on his behalf, from the Minister, Niger Delta Affairs Ministry, Senator Godswill Akpabio, Buhari thanked the Minister, the Auditors and the security agencies for doing a good job for the nation by seeing through the success of the exercise.
“From 2001 to 2020, over Three Trillion Naira have been given to the NDDC in terms of budgetary allocation and over Two Trillion Naira from Statutory and non Statutory sources have been given to the NDDC, yet nothing commensurate is on ground to justify the allocations”, he declared.
Speaking further Buhari said, ” I am delighted you have concluded this exercise and report presented. The Federal Government is not oblivious of the interest generated on the forensic exercise by stakeholders on the constitution of the NDDC board. This administration is determined to address the challenges militating against the delivery of the mandate of the NDDC to the people of the region and what part of the reason the President signed the PIB into law.”
According to him,” the report and your recommendations would be critically examined for necessary action and implementation. The essence of the exercise was to ensure probity and accountability in the running of the NDDC. It is therefore important for the Federal Government to be properly informed of all what had been spent and how it was spent.”
He declared that,” the laws of the commission would be reviewed and proper restructuring implemented for efficiency and service delivery for due process compliant. The President has directed that the report be forwarded to The Federal Ministry of Justice for legal review by relevant agencies.”
In his remark before handing over the report to Buhari, the Supervising Minister over the commission, disclosed that the auditors have concluded the examination and documentation of a total 13,777 contracts for projects and programmes awarded to Contractors and consultants in all Niger Delta States from 2001-August 2019, at a total final contract value of N 3,274.206,032,213.24.
According to Akpabio, the name and identity of a vast number of beneficiary companies were also captured as well.
“Via Field Verification, the Forensic Auditors established the exact status of all contracts for projects and programmes in all constituent states during the period under review classified into completed, ongoing, abandoned, terminated, taken-over and non-existence, ” he declared.
The Minister disclosed that the auditors also focused on funding gaps, Irregularities, mismanagements and Due Proces Violations/Conflicts of interest.
He went on: “A Personnel Audit and Review of the governance and organisational structure of NDDC was also carried out. An operational guideline/Manual and a fit-for-purpose organogram that would aid the transformation of NDDC to a globally competitive development agency has been developed as well.
“Available financial records of the commission were analysed with the aim of establishing the total amount of funds received by the Commission from all sources, both statutory and non-statutory and the total funds and other resources paid to contractors as well as the total amount outstanding as debts with regards to such projects within the period under reference.
“The Auditors have also provided policy recommendations, in terms of measures that should be taken to ensure the prevention of such irregularities and mismanagement, going forward.
“With utmost respect Sir, I crave the indulgence of Your Excellency that after my speech, the Lead Forensic Auditors will present to you a quick summary of their Findings and Recommendations.”