The Interim Management Committee (IMC) of the Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC) has disclosed that its findings have revealed 1,921 ‘emergency contracts’ worth N1.070 trillion.
NDDC’s Acting Executive Director, Dr Cairo Ojougboh, said the projects were awarded by the immediate-past NDDC management in just seven months.
He said the amount far exceeded the commission’s annual budget of about N400 billion.
A statement by the Commission’s Deputy Director, Chijioke Amu-Nnadi in Port Harcourt said it was set to commence the forensic audit ordered by President Muhammadu Buhari.
ExpressDay recalls the Buhari had two days ago written to the Senate to inform the senators that a new list of NDDC will be forwarded to the chamber after the IMC has conducted the audit.
Controversy has trialed the interventionist agency following the appointment of the board which the Senate cleared in December but the President failed to swear-in.
Ojougboh said: “In 2017, NDDC awarded a total of 201 emergency contracts valued at N100.4 billion while in 2018, a total of 1,057 emergency contracts valued at N162.69 billion were awarded.
“We are talking about a total of over N1.3 trillion in less than three years. The yearly budget of NDDC is hardly above N400 billion.
“A situation where contracts that do not qualify for emergencies were fraudulently awarded to over N1 trillion in less than one year, this amounts to not only stealing from the pulpit but stealing the entire pulpit,” he said.
Ojougboh, who is the IMC’s Chairman, Contract Verification Committee, said the findings have confirmed allegations of high-level corruption in NDDC.
He noted that President Buhari was fully committed to saving NDDC from being shut down by activities of corrupt contractors and officials at the commission.
According to him, the commission is sinking and would have been killed and buried due to over trading, bloated contracts and other sharp practices but for Buhari’s intervention.
“At best, NDDC has been a lack-lustre performance, with very little to show for the humongous resources that have accrued to it over the past 19 years.
“Stories of pervasive corruption, flagrant abuse of due process, abandoned projects, poor quality project delivery, among others, at NDDC, have adorned our media space over the years.
“To this end, the contract verification committee will lay a foundation for the forensic audit of the activities of the commission from inception to date,” he assured.