Minister of Niger Delta Affairs, Senator Godswill Akpabio, has submitted the forensic audit report on the Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC) to President Muhammadu Buhari.
It was received by the attorney-general of the federation (AGF) and minister of justice, Mr Abubakar Malami (SAN) on behalf of the president in Abuja.
Akpabio said although the exercise had a checkered history, he thanked the President and all those who supported and ensured its success.
He said the exercise was not done to witch hunt anyone but to ensure that the huge sums of funds committed to the area yearly were justified.
Akpabio lamented that the region had remained backward since 1958 in spite of successive governments’ efforts through the creation of various interventionist programmes and projects.
According to him, the report of the audit committee showed that there are over 13,000 abandoned projects in the Niger Delta, adding that even before the submission of the report some contractors have returned to site on their own and completed about 77 road projects.
The report recommended the deduction of 15% ecological fund at source and to be paid to the commission because both the federal and state governments had failed to make payments to the commission.
Responding after he received the report, the AGF, noted that the federal government approved about N6 trillion for the NDDC in 18 years.
He however decried that the bulk of funds the commission received for the development of the Niger Delta region was diverted into private pockets, noting that execution of 13,777 projects was substantially compromised.
Malami said the essence of the forensic audit was to ensure probity and accountability in the use of public funds.
He said FG was concerned that the NDDC operated a total of 362 bank accounts, leading to “lack of proper reconciliation of accounts”.
The AGF maintained that the Buhari-led government would in consequence, apply the law to remedy the deficiencies outlined in the audit report, as well as to recover funds that were not properly utilized for the public purposes they were meant for.