Senate Queries Basin Authority over N220m Water Projects


Deji Elumoye in Abuja

The Senate has queried the Niger Delta Basin Development Authority (NDBDA) over unexecuted water contracts worth N220 million in three out of the nine states that make up the Niger Delta

Its committee on Public Accounts has therefore asked the parastatal under the federal ministry of Water Resources to account for the N220 million contracts awarded and fully paid for in 2012 but not executed in Delta, Rivers and Bayelsa states.

The Senate panel’s query was sequel to the adoption of the report of Auditor General of the Federation, Anthony Ayine, which exposed alleged massive corruption in the Niger Delta Basin Development Authority.

The contracts totaling over N220 million were awarded on October 18, 2012.

The Auditor General’s Report read in part: “N9.2 million being expenditure for unexecuted contract for the construction of 10 No’s Mono hand pump boreholes in Obio-Akpor LGA Rivers state was awarded to a company through letter reference AD/NDBDS/C/20/12/050 and dated 18th October, 2012. It was claimed that the job has been completed and payment effected.

“However, audit inspection revealed the boreholes on the sites were in existence even before the contract was awarded.

“The contract for the construction of Solar power water project at Ekwetortor Delta State was awarded to a company on October 18, 2012 at contract price of N10 million with completion of six and half weeks. The total contract sum had been paid but a visit to the site showed that the solar power was not working as the residents confirmed. It was further observed that some aspect of the job in Beme were not carried out.

N3.8 million value of the contract has not been done.

“The contract for the rehabilitation of Otir Ewhu water project was awarded on 18th October, 2012 at the contract price of N40 million. Examination of payment vouchers revealed that the sum of N36 million paid into contractor included contingency provision of N3.5m the reason for the inclusion for justification for the utilisation of the contingency was provided.

During inspection, it was observed that some provision of BEME were out as stated.

The Managing Director has been requested to recover N13 million being value of work not done and unexplained expenditure.

“The contract for the construction of solar power boreholes in 19 various communities in Bayelsa was awarded to a company on October 18th October, 2012 at contract price of N238 million with completion period of three months .

“The BEME for the job had provision for items of measurable nature and items value that have no strengthening and capacity building throughput the duration of the project, providing for riverine transportation cost of upland locations contingencies and so on to the tune of N33 million which was expended without recourse to extant regulations .

Payment for the contract value had been effected vide 2 PVs. No’s 026 of 11/072013 and 080/of 01/11/2013.

However a visit to two of the sites (Ebenedebiri and Trofani) showed that the total value of work not done at two locations was N14 million because the project at Trofani was not executed.

“The sum of N14 million paid for work not done and provisional inclusion spent without recourse to the extant regulations, respectively, cannot constitute legitimate change against public funds.”

“Therefore, the total sum of N47 million should be refunded.”

Shedding more light on the financial query, the Auditor-General of the Federation told the Senate committee that all the issues raised were communicated to the Managing Director of NDBDA, Mr. Tonye Graham-Douglas through Audit inspection report in July, 2016.

The Managing Director of the Commission, in his response was unable to defend all the queries issued to the Authority by the Auditor-General.

The committee Chairman, Senator Mathew Urhoghide, in his remarks, stated that the committee would sustain the audit query against the parastatal and recommend accordingly to the Senate for approval.