NDDC begins audit of contracts in states

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ALL contracts awarded by the Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC) in the nine mandate states will be verified ahead of the forensic audit ordered by President Muhammadu Buhari, acting Managing Director Dr. Joi Nunieh, said at the weekend.

She added that contractors with fake Interim Payment Certificates (IPCs) will be arrested.

Nunieh wondered how some Non-Governmental Organisations (NGO) that are non-profit making, should get contracts from the commission.

She said such NGOs would need to justify such contracts.

Nunieh spoke during the inauguration of a 50-member Contracts’ Verification Committee, headed by Executive Director Projects Dr. Cairo Ojougboh.

The committee will verify all contracts in the nine states that the NDDC covers – Rivers, Bayelsa, Cross River, Akwa Ibom, Edo, Delta, Imo, Abia and Ondo – within a two-week period.

Nunieh said the verification was a prelude to the forensic audit.

According to her, it was necessary because there were so many fake IPC being claimed by NDDC contractors.

“Members of the committee will go round all the NDDC mandate states to verify these projects and contracts,” she said.

The NDDC chief noted that the committee’s assignment, which would last for two weeks, was the first stage in the commission’s redirection exercise.

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

“We will work with professional groups such as architects, engineers and quantity surveyors to ensure that the projects were done to acceptable standards.

“We have selected credible people from the Commission to carry out this important assignment.

“We expect them to be steadfast and resist all manner of external influences from those who may claim to have connections in high places.”

Nunieh said the NDDC had records of all the contracts, warning that anyone with a fake IPC would be arrested by the security agencies.

She advised Nigerians not to buy IPCs and contracts purported to emanate from NDDC.

“We are aware that some people are still signing and awarding contracts from hotel rooms.

“Unfortunately for them, we have a comprehensive list of all our contracts. If you come with fake IPC, you will be promptly arrested.

“We will invite the NGOs to come for verification so that they can explain why they were involved in profit-making contracts.

“When you claim that NDDC owes you, you will also know that he who goes to equity must come with clean hands,” she said.

Nunieh thanked the governors of the NDDC mandate states that had set up committees to investigate the jobs done by the Commission’s contractors, following the list of contracts given to them.

She urged them to help fish out dubious contractors claiming to have executed jobs that exist only on paper.

She assured all contractors that did their jobs according to specifications that they would be paid after the verification exercise.

“We have started paying consultants and suppliers that have indeed done their jobs well.

“They will be paid without having to bribe anyone. You don’t need to pay gratification to get your bills paid in the new NDDC,” Nunieh said.

Dr. Ojougboh, said they would approach the assignment with diligence.

“You have made it clear that the revalidation exercise is free. No contractor shall be asked to pay money and nobody should make any demands from the contractors,” he said.

He assured members of the committee that the NDDC would do all that was necessary to ensure their safety while they do their job.

Ojougboh said: “The Commission will do its best to ensure that you are not intimidated or harassed. So, you should not succumb to any pressure.”

NDDC Project Monitoring and Supervision Director, Dr Emmanuel Audu-Ohwavborua, is the Deputy Chairman; Community and Rural Development Director Mrs Iyingi Numbere is the committee’s Secretary.

-The Nation Newspaper, 13/1/2020

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