The Minister of Niger Delta Affairs, Senator Godswill Akpabio, on Thursday, submitted the Forensic Audit Report on the Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC) after months of delay.
The minister had on August 9 received the report from the forensic auditors who were commissioned months ago.
Mr Akpabio submitted the report to President Muhammadu Buhari through the Attorney-General, Abubakar Malami, in Abuja.
The report of the audit committee showed that there are over 13,000 abandoned projects in the Niger Delta and even before the submission of the report some contractors have returned to site on their own and completed about 77 road projects.
Although the exercise had a checkered history, I thank Mr President and all those who supported and ensured its success.
He stressed that the exercise was not done to witch-hunt anyone but to ensure that the huge sums of funds committed to the area yearly are justified.
The minister lamented that the region had remained backward since 1958 in spite of successive governments’ efforts through the creation of various interventionist programmes and projects.
Lead forensic auditor, Kabir Ahmed, in a brief overview of the report, said that the team recommended managerial as well as structural changes, chief of which is the downsizing of the NDDC’s board.
He said to reduce cost the team recommended that members of the team should henceforth be appointed on a part-time basis.
The appointment of members of the board of the NDDC had been suspended until the release of the audit report.
Mr Ahmed also disclosed that oil companies in the country are still in default of their contributions to the commission.
We recommended that the government should withdraw the license of any oil company which defaults for a period of three years.
Also, deduction of 15 percent ecological fund at source and be paid to the commission because both the federal and state governments have failed to make payments to the commission.
The team recommended as a measure of effective revenue collections, the Federal Inland Revenue Services should collect funds on behalf of NDDC from oil companies in the country.