Plans forensic audit of of commission’s account
By Henry Umoru, Emman Ovuakporie, Johnbosco Agbakwuru & Joseph Erunke
ABUJA—THE National Assembly joint Committee on Niger Delta Development Commission, NDDC, yesterday issued a bench warrant on seven oil companies operating in the Niger Delta region for failure to appear before a public hearing to defend themselves for alleged non remittance of the statutory funds to the NDDC for the development of the region.
This came as the lawmakers accused the management of NDDC of not keeping accurate financial records with remittances from oil companies which had robbed the commission of funds to execute projects.
The position of the joint committee was as a result of revelations from some oil companies that had made frantic efforts to meet with the management of the NDDC to reconcile their accounts with he commission and settle the necessary outstanding.
Oriental Energy Resources specifically told the committee that it had made several efforts to meet with the NDDC since December, 2015, and had written about three letters to the commission to have a meeting to reconcile accounts, saying it had $1 million to pay to the commission for the past six months but NDDC had not given the company audience.
Chief Technical Adviser to Oriental Energy Resources, Goni Sheikh who disclosed this at the meeting of the Senate and House of Representatives joint committee on NDDC, at the Senate wing, Abuja, told the committee that his company paid $18 million to the commission in 2014 and had set aside the $1 million only that the commission had failed to schedule a meeting with the company despite several letters sent to its management.
Sheikh pleaded with the committee to intervene by making the NDDC schedule meeting to reconcile all the accounts.
He said: “As at December (2015) we had $1million to pay to NDDC. We have written several letters to the commission for us to meet and reconcile our account, but we have not received any reply. We plead with the committee to talk to the NDDC for us to fulfill our obligation, we know what the law says.”
Chairman of the senate committee on NDDC, Peter Nwaoboshi lamented that those who had represented the NDDC had created the impression that it was the oil companies that were not remitting what they should be remitting to the coffers of the commission.
He said with testimonies from some of the oil companies, it appeared that the NDDC was satisfied with what it had, noting, “there is a procedural lapses in NDDC. The regulations, the procedure they are adopting in that office will be a matter between us and them.”
He also said the process of forensic audit of the commission had started as there were discrepancies in the financial accounts presented by the commission.