By Tordue Salem
The Auditor General of the Federation (OAuGF) has transmitted audit reports of the expenditure by Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC) and Nigeria Bulk Electricity Trading (NBET) Plc, to the House of Representatives’ Committee on Public Accounts.
The Chairman of the Committee Rep. Wole Oke ( PDP-Osun), confirmed the receipt of the reports on Tuesday.
“Yes, we now have the Auditor General of the Federation reports on the NDDC from 2013 to 2018, as well NBET from 2017 to 2019, respectively”.
Oke assured the public that both reports would be treated by the panel, with despatch on the resumption of the House in September.
The details of the audit queries were contained in the report titled: ‘Special periodic checks on the activities and programmes of Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC), for the period 1st January 2013 – 30th June 2018’, which was transmitted to the Chairman of the Public Accounts Committee via a covering letter with Ref. No: OAuGF/GEN.CORR./SSA/50 and dated 18th August 2020.
Some of the queries issued in the report include payment of medical check-up expenses to part-time board members – N459.350 million; Excessive payment of imprest to the Executive Board members – N1,358,300,000; Engagement and payment of External Solicitors without the consent of Honourable Minister of Justice and Attorney General of the Federation – N1,582,986,030; Irregularities in the awarded contract for Logistic and Consultation Services – N199,474,160.50; and Award of Emergency Contracts without stating the Contract Prices – N3,001,517,063.27.
Others include Doubtful Commissioning of Consultants for the Studies and Design Projects after the award and execution of the relevant projects – N485,128,179.79; Payments of rent to a Legal Advocate on a property that belongs to River State Government but released to the Federal Government house the NDDC Headquarters – N1,225,000,000; payment of rent to retired generals for regional security surveillance NDDC projects without evidence of service delivery – N698,128,550 as well as inappropriate payments of tenement rate without valid computation in line with the relevant tax laws – N725,460,000; appointments of special and personal assistants for members of Governing Board and payment of their salaries and allowances as Government expenses – N1,005,743,015.14.
The OAuGF also queried the N1,714,074,999.93 expended on Partnership on Entrepreneurship Development Scheme without specific benefits or procedure for the recoupment of NDDC investment in the partnership; N190,956,527.75 payment of compensation through Chris Oghene Omoru & Co without evidence of job execution; N86,531,503 irregular payment of compensation; N2,527,000,000 irregularities in the supply of 3,852 doses of Hepatitis B vaccines and 1570 doses of Typhoid vaccines (28) and supply of Lassa Fever kits in (23 Lots) to NDDC warehouse in Port Harcourt and distribution, transportation and storage (5 Lots); N949,220,780 contract on dredging/desilting of Imo River, Onuimo and Ihitte Uboma (Lot 2) Ihitte Uboma, Imo State and N994,415,000 contract for the dredging/desilting of Obano-Okposha Oguta Lake Waterway (Lot 2) Imo State.
The Auditor-General also queried the NDDC over “Wastage of public fund due to collection of mobilization fees without report to project sites by contractors – N61,468,160,743.03; some former political office holders and some staff of NDDC retiring with government property in their possession without authorization; incomplete update on contract file; non-submission of comprehensive nominal roll to the periodic check team; appointment of staff on contract staff to the Director level without taking into consideration the available vacancies and appointment of Directorate Cadre personnel as political staff to serve as Aides to Board Members.
In the same vein, the OAuGF also forwarded the report on the Nigeria Bulk Electricity Trading (NBET) Plc’s Audit Monitoring & Evaluation of capital projects and programmes from June 2017 to June 2018 include: the queries include non-submission of annual audited financial statements for six years 2014 – 2019; payments for contract not executed – N20,952,000; variation of contract without approval – N4,835,856.56; unauthorized payment for international training without approval – N85,632,229.55; payment without supporting documents of N1,310,000; and spending government funds on status vehicles.