About 12,000 Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC) projects will go through forensic audit, Minister of Niger Delta Affairs Godswill Akpabio said on Wednesday.
By Bolaji Ogundele, Abuja
Akpabio spoke at the end of the 13th virtual Federal Executive Council (FEC) meeting in Abuja.
He said a memorandum by the ministry for the appointment of eight firms to carry out forensic audit of the projects was approved by the council.
Akpabio said a foreign auditing firm, Ernst and Young, which was appointed in March as lead auditor is among the eight firms.
The international firm will be in charge of programmes and activities at the headquarters in Port Harcourt, Rivers State, while seven other auditing firms will carry out the field work.
However, the minister did not name the seven new auditors that would be paid N722.3 million for the seven to 14 days field work.
The contract entered in March with the lead auditors (Enst and Young) was N318 million
Akpabio explained that with the approval by FEC, “evaluation of the abandoned projects of NDDC in the last 19 years, estimated almost 12,000’’ has commenced..
”At the end, we will know the amount of monies that have gone into the region in the last 19 years and whether the value we have received so far are commensurate with the monies that have entered into NDDC”, he added.
Akpabio also explained that the money being used for the contracts, which ought to have been drawn from the NDDC budget, came from the Presidency. He attributed the development to the delay in passing the commission’s 2020 budget by the National Assembly.
His words: “The first amount that was approved for the lead forensic auditors was about N318 million and then for this batch of eight field auditors, N722.3 million. We expect to complete the field audit in the next one or two weeks.
”Mr. President had last year approved an estimated amount of N2.5 billion. So, everything that we are spending now will come from that estimated sum. Initially, it should have come from the budget of the NDDC, but because of the delay and the inability to pass the 2020 budget, the entirety of the amount that will be spent will come from the budget of the Presidency.
“The job is not just forensic audit alone; you know forensic audit is different from statutory. This one (forensic audit) is done with a view to address the issues of misappropriation, bribery, corruption, fraud or anything of that sort that could have militated against the success of the agency in the last 19 years.”
Also addressing the State House correspondents, Water Resources Minister Suleiman Adamu said the council approved N101 million augmentation for the revised estimated cost of consultancy services for the Ogbese Dam Project in Ekiti State.
”This project is one of the 116 projects that we inherited. It was started in 2009. And it is one of the projects we prioritised for completion since we conducted an audit of all the ongoing projects in 2016. We have been working on it steadily,” he said.