NDDC inaugurates project, contract committees for finance auditing

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Desmond Ejibas

The Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC) has inaugurated contract documentation and project assessment committees in preparation for forensic audit of its finances.

The acting Managing Director, Dr Joi Nunieh, said this in a statement on Saturday by Mr Charles Odili, its Director, Corporate Affairs in Port Harcourt.

She said that the two committees would continue from where the Contract Verification Committee stopped as well as complement the expected forensic audit of the commission.

According to her, the contract documentation committee will authenticate all documents submitted by contractors while the project assessment committee will visit the various sites to verify contractors’ claims.

“The committees will start work from Feb. 10, even as the commission prepares to defend its budget before the Senate on Feb. 12.

“The just concluded verification exercise has been an eye opener for us. We will address the press on Feb. 10 for a full briefing on the reports from the exercise.

“That report will show Nigerians that we are truly determined to refocus NDDC to properly develop the Niger Delta region,” she said.

Nunieh said the verification exercise revealed high level of corruption in the award of contracts running into billions of Naira.

“Some contract award letters were found to be fake; some of the companies were not registered while some where registered after they had been given contracts.

“Also, some of the companies do not have the requirements prescribed in the Public Procurement Act to handle such projects. We also found out that some individuals have 50 to 100 different (contract) award letters under different names,” she said.

Nunieh said that only few contractors showed up for the verification exercise, adding that NDDC would not visit sites of contractors who refused to participate in the assessment.

The acting managing director said that only contractors and consultants who executed their contracts to specification would be paid.

“We will work with the Community Development Committees of the various communities and the villages to testify that the roads in their communities are done properly.

“No committee member is allowed to take money from any contractor or contractor attempting to induce committee members. The entire process of assessment is free,” she said.

Nunieh said that contractors and consultants owed between N1 million and N20 million would be paid immediately after NDDC verified their debt portfolio and budget was passed. (NAN)