Perez Brisibe – Ughelli
The 50-man Project Verification Committee of the Niger Delta Development Commission, NDDC, has been described by a Coalition as “opaque and prone to fraud.”
The committee which is headed by the NDDC Executive Director, Projects, Dr. Cairo Ojougboh during its inaugural speech, had stated that “records available to the commission show that most of the awards were not backed by budget, has no bills of engineering.”
Describing the committee as “another example of cluelessness of the Interim Management Committee”, the Niger Delta Accountability and Development Coalition, NDADC, alleged that the process is fraudulent and will subvert the forensic audit.
NDADC in a statement yesterday by its national coordinator and secretary, Johnson Epia and Ekong Etim respectively, said they are convinced that measures announced by the management committee to facilitate the audit are in themselves fraught with fraud and designed to turn the process into a cash cow for the committee members.
They said: “We consider the recent inauguration of a 50-man contract verification committee as another example of the cluelessness of this interim management committee, a kind of merry-go-round.
“The committee which is headed by the Acting Executive Director Projects, Dr Cairo Ojougboh, has directors and staff of the commission as members while its business is ostensibly to call contractors and verify their projects and claims, we are sufficiently alarmed by recent happenings to believe that the motive behind this committee is anything but objective.
“What is the essence of a verification exercise when the commission already has its own records, which according to Ojougboh indicates that some of the contracts were spurious?
“This is especially so when it is considered that the people who make up this committee, aside Ojougboh, are staff of the commission who themselves screened, verified and approved the same contracts that Ojougboh says are fraudulent and which are now being ‘verified’.
“By this and other actions, the Interim Management Committee confirms our fears that it does not have the skill set to supervise the forensic audit ordered by the president if indeed its actions are not part of a preconceived agenda.”