Deji Elumoye and Chuks Okocha in Abuja
The Senate wednesday gave its support to the forensic audit of the Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC) ordered by President Muhammadu Buhari.
It, therefore, lauded the on-going forensic auditing being carried out on the accounts of the agency by the executive arm of government which stopped the 15-man board of the Commission screened and approved by the Senate last November.
The Senate had last December when President Buhari forwarded the 2019 budget of the agency for approval, ordered its committee to accord recognition to the approved board members for that purpose and not Interim Management Committee (IMC).
President Buhari, while breaking the logjam, wrote the Senate this year that in view of the forensic audit going on in the agency, the IMC will be in office pending his recomposition of a new board.
It is in this light that the Senate Committee on NDDC led by Senator Peter Nwaoboshi yesterday granted audience to the IMC members and considered the N346billion 2019 budget proposal of the agency.
Nwaoboshi at the budget defence session had said: “The Senate supports the ongoing forensic audit going on in the NDDC and by extension not against the IMC running the agency now.
“We are here to consider and approve the agency’s budget proposals for 2019 as forwarded to the Senate by President Buhari in December last year.
“However, in doing that, we shall be guided by policy thrust of the government on budget proposals, implementation and performances.”
Nwaoboshi stressed that in line with submissions made by the president on October 8, 2019, during the presentation of the 2020 budget estimates, performance status of projects in previous years would be strictly considered in giving appropriation to any proposal.
The agency, however, had issues when the committee demanded the documents of all its emergency projects, which could not be provided for by the acting Managing Director, Dr. Joy Nunieh.
The Committee consequently directed her to make the documents available by next Tuesday failure of which will lead to holding of public hearing on the issue.
The NDDC acting MD was quick to assure the Committee that the documents would be made available latest by Tuesday.
She assured the Committee members that the agency in all its current activities is strictly being guided by the Next Level agenda of President Buhari’s administration in terms of transparency and accountability on all projects executed.