Ndubuisi Francis in Abuja
The Minister of Niger Delta Affairs, Senator Godswill Akpabio wednesday disclosed that his ministry has secured the approval of the Bureau of Public Procurement (BPP) to commence the much-awaited forensic audit of the Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC).
Akpabio restated that President Muhammadu Buhari’s directive for the audit of the commission was not designed to witch-hunt anyone or group, but to ascertain what went wrong and put in place a governance structure that will be result-oriented.
He spoke when he met with the Interim Management Committee (IMC) of the NDDC, and the lead forensic consultant, Messrs Olumuyiwa Basiru & Company, in Abuja.
The minister said: “The Bureau of Public Procurement (BPP) has assessed the firm and found them fit to be the leading consulting firm that will lead the appointment of other forensic auditors for the NDDC audit spanning between 2001- 2019. We have received the approval of BPP to now commence the exercise.”
According to a statement from the ministry, Akpabio said next task was to work in collaboration with other stakeholders to bring in experienced and notable forensic auditors with international reputation, so that whatever report is produced will be accepted and enforceable within and outside the country.
The Permanent Secretary in the ministry, Mr. Olusade Adesola explained that the tripartite meeting was to bring at par the various stakeholders in the forensic audit team, and address all grey areas of concern.
He noted that the presidential directive was to address the issues of irregularities in NDDC, adding that the Auditor-General for the Federation, Mr. Anthony Mkpe Ayine, interacted with the consulting firm to verify if they have the capacity to do the job.
At the meeting, the Executive Director, Projects, NDDC, and the Chairman of NDDC Contracts Verification Committee, Dr. Cairo Ojougboh, described the presentation as thought-provoking.
The consulting firm, Ojougboh stressed, is well equipped and deemed fit to carry out the forensic exercise.
He clarified that NDDC is an agency under the Ministry of Niger Delta Affairs, and that the forensic audit is above the limit of the commission to supervise.
According to him, the ministry is the procuring entity, adding that the Commission has to be carried along in the exercise.