By Davies Iheamnachor, PORT HARCOURT
A former President, Movement for the Survival of the Ogoni People, MOSOP, Ledum Mitee, has regretted that the intended audit order by the Federal Government of Hydrocarbon Pollution Remediation Project, HYPREP, maybe aimed at using the funds meant for the Ogoni clean-up for the 2023 elections.
Mitee, a leader of Ogoni ethnic nationality of Rivers State, in a statement in Port Harcourt, yesterday, expressed doubt that the announced audit of the project would not also go the way of the recent audit on Niger Delta Development Commission, NDDC.
Mitee said: “At a government retreat, the Minister of Transport, speaking for the president, announced that the president had ordered HYPREP to be moved from Environment to the Niger Delta Ministry. Just a day after, the Ministry of Environment effectively refuted that directive and quoted a circular by which the outfit was ordered by the same President to be under the Environment Ministry.
“Remarkably, the statement by the Environment Ministry stated that the president had ordered a full audit of the accounts of HYPREP from inception to date, and I hope it is not a repeat of the NDDC experience, where, in the face of serious mind bugling revelations about corruption, a so-called forensic audit was ordered which has perennially been ongoing, creating the excuse for business as usual, especially when viewed against the backdrop of the following:
“The HYPREP draft budget for the remaining part of this year that has exponentially risen to a record $300 million compared to last year’s budget that was a mere $35 million. Curiously, the current budget pegs the exchange rate at N411 to the $.
“Opaque contracting processes which have been dominated by the wishes of the supervising ministry evidenced by unqualified companies being shortlisted and awarded contracts for remediation. There have been incessant complaints by communities and other stakeholders that despite huge expenditures, HYPREP has not impacted on the communities.