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NDDC starts audit, verification of contracts, projects: Ag. MD

* Alleges award of fake contracts with forged documents

Isola Moses

In a bold move to maintain transparency and accountability in the operations of the regional Commission to its stakeholders, the Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC) says it has inaugurated a 50-member committee to audit and document projects and contracts awarded in nine Niger Delta states in Nigeria.

Agency report indicates that Dr. Joi Nunieh, Acting Managing Director of NDDC, inaugurated the verification committee in Port Harcourt, Rivers State capital, according to a statement Sunday, January 12, 2020, by Chijioke Amu-Nnadi, Deputy Director, Corporate Affairs of the Commission.

Dr. Nunieh said that the committee’s formation was a prelude to the forensic audit of the Commission which President Muhammadu Buhari had ordered in 2019.

The verification exercise, according to him, becomes necessary due to many ‘fake’ Interim Payment Certificates (IPCs) being claimed by contractors.

“So, members of the committee will go round all the NDDC mandate states to verify these projects and contracts.

“The committee will carry out this assignment for a period of two weeks – which is the first stage in the redirection exercise at the interventionist agency.

“After the initial documentation and verification, we will go out to all the states to identify and inspect the projects,” Nunieh said.

The Acting Managing Director said the commission would work with different professional groups, including architects, engineers and quantity surveyors to ensure the projects met the acceptable standards.

Nunieh also pointed out that the NDDC was aware that some undisclosed groups were currently awarding fake contracts by falsifying official documents.

“But unfortunately for them, we have a comprehensive list of all our contracts. If anyone comes with fake IPC, such individuals will be promptly arrested.

“We advise Nigerians not to buy Interim Payment Certificates and contracts purported to emanate from the commission

“We have selected credible people from NDDC to carry out this important assignment. We expect them to be steadfast and resist all manner of external influences,” she noted.

Nunieh said the commission also observed that some of the groups parading themselves as “contractors” and demanding payment were Non-Governmental Organisations (NGOs).

According to her, the involvement of NGOs in contracts taking contradicts the law establishing them “as non-profit making organisations.”

However, she assures that all contractors that did their jobs according to the specification would be paid after the verification exercise.

“Currently, we have started paying consultants and suppliers that did their jobs well. So, they (contractors) will be paid without having to bribe anyone,” she declared.

On the audit Committee are Dr. Cairo Ojougboh as Chairman, Dr. Emmanuel Audu-Ohwavborua (Deputy Chairman) and Mrs. Iyingi Numbere as Secretary respectively.

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