Chairman, Senate Committee on Public Accounts, Senator Matthew Urhoghide, Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, Edo South disclosed on Monday that the Acting Managing Director of Niger Delta Development Commission, NDDC, Dr. Enyia Akwagaga will on Tuesday, appear before the Committee.
She is appearing to defend the award of Water Hyacinth Emergency and Desilting Contracts awarded by the Niger Delta Development Commission, NDDC for a period of two years from 2017 to 2019.
Senator Urhoghide said that the investigation became imperative because the initial cost of the contract at N2.5 billion was allegedly jerked to a whopping sum of N65 billion on the project.
According to him, the Senate will ensure that all mechanisms, all processes of doing government business particularly when they come to expenditure of public funds were strictly adhered to, adding that committee is charged with the responsibility of ensuring that there are transparency, accountability and economy as well as value for money.
The Senate had in a letter dated 10th October, 2019, summoning the Acting Managing Director of NDDC, Dr. Enyia Akwagaga to appear before the Committee to defend the execution of the project.
But at the meeting of the Committee last week, the Acting Managing Director who was said to be indisposed and could not appear was represented by the Director, Special Duties, Nosakhare Agbongiasede.
Subsequently, Senator Urhoghide then fixed today for the Acting Managing Director to Appear before the committee with full compliment of Management of the Commission.
The Committee has also mandated her to forward to it all the needed information about the Contract on or before Monday next week.
The required information to be forwarded to the Committee on Monday include project title; Names of Contractors; Location of the Contract; Addresses of the Contractors; Contract sum; date of Award; the amount paid to date and Actual Date of Completion.
Also to be forwarded to the Public Accounts Committee are Original copy of all the Newspaper Advertisements for the contract; Technical Bids for the job by each of the bidders; Financial bids submitted by each of the bidders for the job; Deduction of taxes( VAT and WHT) and evidence of remittances.
Last week, Senator Urhoghide said, “We had invited the acting Managing Director and Management if the NDDC to come and testify before this committee of the Senate on Public Accounts on an issue that has become of national importance, that is, the award of contracts that has to do with the clearing of water hyacinth in the Niger Delta region and of course the desilting contracts that were awarded by the NDDC under their emergency programme.
“Well, we cannot talk about the details now why we are particularly interested in this investigation. Because of it, we want to be able to ascertain if due processes were followed in the award of these contracts, particularly the Information that we have at our disposal they exceeded budget limits. Of course, that is a very serious offence. What we are hearing or what we know is that N2.5billion was budgeted for this activity, that is, desilting and clearing of water hyacinths. We are hearing that the Commission has spent N65billion so we want to know if it is true.
“It is an allegation. It is still an assumption until they come to clear the air surrounding this. This is why the Senate is particularly interested and they mandated this committee to carry out full investigation. So we want the Acting MD to come. We are aware that the acting MD assumed duties a few weeks ago but government is a continuum.
“It is not a case of whether she is the one that was in office or not, and again we are very clear that this committee is not out to witch hunt anybody. We want to make sure that all mechanisms, all processes of doing government business particularly when it comes to expenditure of public funds.
“This committee is charged with the responsibility of ensuring that there are transparency, accountability and economy, that is there is value for money. Once we are able to ascertain that the Commission has done it well, of course they are not going to have any problem. If not, we will recommend “