The Senate Public Accounts Committee has summoned the management of the Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC) over an alleged N100 billion contract said to have been awarded to 626 firms.
The committee said a special periodic checks carried out on the activities and programmes of the NDDC by the Office of the Auditor General for the Federation also revealed that the contractor allegedly abandoned the projects after collecting mobilisation fee. The panel said the periodic checks covered between January 1, 2013 and June 30, 2018.
The Chairman of the committee, Senator Matthew Urhoghide, stated this at the last sitting of the panel on Friday. Urhoghide said the management of the NDDC had been invited to appear before it on Wednesday.
The chairman explained that the committee will personalise any refund that is traceable to an individual during the investigative hearing. He described as painful, the fact that over N100 billion was allegedly spent on contracts in NDDC without justification for the spending. Urhoghide said: “We had invited the NDDC to come and appear before us because they haven’t presented records of the financial transactions involving the contracts. They will appear before us on Wednesday.
“They have 47 queries and we are going to scrutinise everything and we are going to personalise any refund. It is painful that N100 billion were spent without justification for it. We equally invite them for status enquiry on all revenues into their accounts. We are waiting for the NDDC. If they don’t come, we take necessary action against them.”
Part of some of the queries sighted by THISDAY read: “It was observed that so many contractors were paid mobilisation fee to enable them commence the execution of the projects awarded to them. “Contrary to the terms and agreement some of the contractors bolted away after collection of the mobilisation fees. The surprising aspect of it was that the practice involved 626 contractors in which the sum of N61.4 billion was lost to fraudulent practices.”
One of the queries also alleged that there were irregularities in a contract awarded to a construction firm (names withheld) for the construction of Gbaregolor- Gbekbot-Ogulagha road at the cost of N16.1 billion. (THISDAY)