Accountant-general, NDDC disagree over N70.4b abandoned contracts

nddcThe Senate Public Account Committee was told yesterday that the Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC) lost some N70.4 billion to dubious contractors between 2008 and 2012.

The Office of the Auditor – General of the Federation, at a meeting with the Senate Committee declared that corrupt contractors disappeared after collecting a total of wN70 billion mobilization fees without visiting the projects sites.

Emmanuel Akpan, an Assistant Director, Public Accounts Committee Division in the office, who made the revelation while making submissions before the committee stated that while the NDDC’s office, in response to a query issued it by the Office of the Auditor- General over the ugly development , admitted that projects worth N11 billion were affected by the scam, the Auditor- General’s office, based on findings made so far, strongly believes that the total sum of the scam is N70,495, 993, 761, approximately, N70.4billion.

“The real value of contracts upon which monies have been collected by NDDC contractors during the period under review, as at the time of auditing, was N70.4billion and not N11billion the NDDC office is claiming now.

“There is need for NDDC officials to practically prove that contractors involved in close to N60 billion gap they are trying to create, have actually gone to site and executed their projects not on paper but physically on ground”, he said.

He further disclosed that not less than 1,733 contractors were involved in the scam.

Officials from the Office of the Accountant – General of the Federation have also agreed with the submission made by the Auditor – General over NDDC ‘s contract awards and execution from 2008 to 2012.

But the NDDC officials led by their acting Managing Director, Ibim Semenitari, disagreed vehemently saying that latest records available to them indicated that N11billion worth projects were affected by the scandal and not N70 billion.

The Commission’s Director of Finance, Jimoh Egbejule, said the commission had on its own audited the various projects awarded during the period under review and discovered that the said scam affected N11billion worth projects and not N70.4 billion as reported by the Office of the Auditor- General.

The sharp disagreement between the NDDC and the office of the auditor-general made the committee, headed by Senator Andy Uba ( PDP Anambra South) to adjourn the sitting for a month to allow the three parties meet and harmonise their positions.
Uba said: “There is need to stop this public hearing abruptly so as to allow the three parties time to sit down and harmonize their findings and reports on the subject matter.

“Definitely, this committee is not satisfied with what has happened but we have to give them time to meet and harmonize whatever they can harmonize before coming back to us to present their updated reports upon which we can now do the proper probing without one agency saying it doesn’t have the reports the other is presenting and so on and so fort.”

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