CSCAN Verifies 115 NDDC Projects, claims Commission unable to account for N15.3bn

By Chimezie Godfrey

The Civil Society Coalition on Audit in Nigeria (CSCAN), says it has physically verified 115 projects of 176 NDDC contracts highlighted in its February 2021 analysis of Compliance Audit Reports on Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC) published by the Office of the Auditor-General for the Federation.

The Coalition which presented the 293-page report in Abuja Wednesday, had in February 2021 claimed that the NDDC was unable to account for N90.9 billion on 176 contracts awarded between 2008 and 2018.

CSCAN includes Paradigm Leadership Support Initiative (PLSI), BudgIT Foundation, Socio Economic Rights and Accountability Project (SERAP), Dataphyte, Step Up Nigeria, Accountability Lab Nigeria, Centre for Health, Equity and Justice (CEHEJ), Basic Rights Watch, Centre for Social Justice (CSJ), and other CSOs and media executives in Nigeria.

The Coalition, after the verification process, revealed that most of the projects were either completely abandoned or poorly implemented.

The Executive Director, Paradigm Leadership Support Initiative (PLSI), Olusegun Elemo, on behalf of CSCAN said,”Within the last six months (March – August 2021), our Coalition monitored 115 priority projects out of 176 contracts highlighted in our review and analysis of Compliance Audit Reports of the Auditor-General for the Federation on NDDC.

“Fiscal performance of the 115 projects shows that contracts awarded amounted to N98.5 billion, payments to contractors totaled N61.8 billion while the sum of N15.3 billion is yet to be accounted for.

“Six (6) of these projects are on education, one (1) related to health, four (4) on water, seventy four (74) on road infrastructure while twenty-nine (29) of the projects fell within other categories.”

He however said that the Coalition’s independent findings on the 115 projects revealed that 46 of the projects had been executed, 12 of them executed with irregularities, 2 were partially executed, 4 projects were executed by other agencies, 3 projects not executed at all, 19 of the projects were poorly implemented, 11 are still abandoned while 18 of the projects had no trackable location.

Also speaking, the Principal Lead of BudgIT Foundation – Gabriel Okeowo noted that with the forensic audit ordered by President Buhari now concluded and summary report indicating over 13,700 poorly executed and unverified projects by NDDC despite N6 trillion allocation it received from 2001 to 2019, it will be in the interest of the people of Niger Delta and by extension Nigeria for the federal government led by President Buhari to make the full report of the forensic audit exercise public and religiously implement recommended sanctions and reforms to reposition the NDDC for improved performance.

Zainab Haruna, Programme Director of Step Up Nigeria urged the National Assembly through its Committees on Public Accounts and anti-corruption agencies to look at the findings contained in the two Compliance Audit Reports published by the Office of the Auditor-General for the Federation.

She also said that the Independent findings report is being presented by the Coalition to ensure that those responsible for abusing extant laws that set up NDDC to mismanage public funds allocated to the Commission are made to account for all the monies.

Odeh Friday, Country Director, Accountability Lab reiterated that Nigeria is in a complicated financial corner, “there is need for the federal government of Nigeria to re-consider a new audit bill which is very key to good public governance and strengthening accountability mechanisms in government MDAS.

“Such that it can drastically reduce the mismanagement of Nigeria’s lean resources and improve the trust level between citizens and the government in open governance and transparency,” he said.

The Coalition further provided the Link to report –