12,000 NDDC projects for forensic audit – Akpabio

Posted by News Express | 27 August 2020 | 571 times

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•Minister of Niger Delta Affairs, Senator Akpabio

12,000 NDDC projects for forensic audit – Akpabio

The Minister of Niger Delta Affairs, Senator Godswill Akpabio, says about 12,000 abandoned projects of the Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC) in the last 19 years will be reviewed by the appointed auditors.

Akpabio said this on Wednesday after the 13th virtual Federal Executive Council (FEC) meeting chaired by President Muhammadu Buhari at the State House, Abuja.

As a result of this, the minister said the FEC had also approved the appointment of eight Field Forensic Auditors to be designated to the states of the Niger Delta region to undertake the forensic auditing of the commission.

“Earlier, we had the lead forensic auditor that was approved sometime in March and now we have about eight other forensic auditors who have been approved and they are going to be working in the field in the Niger Delta region.

“One of them is an international group and they will be in charge of programmes and activities at the headquarters and the one is Ernst and Young.

“And so, council graciously considered the memo and approval was given today.

“This has really kick-started the commencement of evaluation of the abandoned projects of NDDC in the last 19 years estimated almost 12,000 projects.

“At the end, we will be in the position to know the ones that could be completed, the ones that will be useful, the low hanging fruits that could be plucked for the benefit of the people of the Niger Delta region and through this exercise, 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 also said.

Akpabio, while fielding questions from State House reporters, said the forensic audit was to address the issues of misappropriation, bribery, corruption, and fraud that had militated against the success of the agency in the last 19 years.

He said the involvement of Ernst and Young, the internationally reocignised forensic auditors, would help to set up modalities to avoid future fraud and governance structure that would not only move the agency forward but also bring much more benefits to the people of the region.

The minister, who attributed the delay in the completion of the forensic audit to the absence of budget, said the task was now being financed through the Presidency since the NDDC budget had not been passed by the National Assembly.

Akpabio recalled that the President had, last year, approved an estimated amount of N2.5 billion for the forensic audit.

“We thank Mr President for not just the will but also undertaking to provide the funding to make sure that this exercise comes to fruition because it will benefit not just the Niger Delta people but it will benefit Nigerians and will also give direction to a lot of agencies of government such as the North East Development Commission,” he added.

The minister, when asked about the current cost of the forensic auditing, said; “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.

“Earlier, Mr President has 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.

“That is why there was a delay but we are on course right now.”

Also on Wednesday, the Minister of Water Resources, Engr. Suleiman Adamu, said the council approved the sum of N101 million for the revised estimated total cost of consultancy services for the ongoing Ogbese Dam Project in Ekiti State.

Engr. Adamu said the project, which started in 2009, was awarded in favour of the consultant, Messr. Geomatics Nig. Ltd., for an extension period of 24 months.

“This project is one of the 116 projects that we inherited.

“It was started in 2009.

“And it is one of the projects we prioritized for completion since we conducted an audit of all the ongoing projects in 2016.

“We have been working on it steadily.

“With the original contract period having expired and having also received approval from RETC for the actual construction of the project’s main work, it was important that we also extend the services of the project’s consultant so that there will be continued and uninterrupted effective supervision of the project,” he added. (Daily Trust)

Source: News Express

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