The Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC) says it has inaugurated a 50-member committee to audit and document projects and contracts awarded in nine Niger Delta states.
Dr Joi Nunieh, Acting Managing Director of NDDC, inaugurated the verification committee in Port Harcourt, according to a statement on Sunday by Chijioke Amu-Nnadi, the commission’s Deputy Director, Corporate Affairs.
Nunieh said that the committee’s formation was a prelude to the forensic audit of the commission ordered by President Muhammadu Buhari in 2019.
According to him, the verification exercise becomes necessary due to many ‘fake’ Interim Payment Certificates (IPCs) being claimed by contractors.
“So, members of the committee will go round all the NDDC mandate states to verify these projects and contracts.
“The committee will carry out this assignment for period of two week – which is the first stage in the redirection exercise at the interventionist agency.
“After the initial documentation and verification, we will go out to all the states to identify and inspect the projects,” Nunieh said.
The managing director said the commission would work with different professional groups, including architects, engineers and quantity surveyors to ensure the projects met the acceptable standards.
Nunieh also pointed out that the NDDC was aware that some undisclosed groups were currently awarding fake contracts by falsifying official documents.
“But unfortunately for them, we have a comprehensive list of all our contracts. If anyone comes with fake IPC, such individual will be promptly arrested.
“We advise Nigerians not to buy Interim Payment Certificates and contracts purported to emanate from the commission
“We have selected credible people from NDDC to carry out this important assignment. We expect them to be steadfast and resist all manners of external influences,” she noted.
Nunieh said the commission also observed that some of the groups parading themselves as “contractors” and demanding payment were Non-Governmental Organisations (NGOs).
According to her, the involvement of NGOs in contracts taking contradicts the law establishing them “as non profit making organisations.”
“However, We are assuring all contractors that did their jobs according to specification that they would be paid after the verification exercise.
“Currently, we have started paying consultants and suppliers that did their jobs well. So, they (contractors) will be paid without having to bribe anyone,” she assured.
The committee has Dr Cairo Ojougboh as Chairman, Dr Emmanuel Audu-Ohwavborua (Deputy Chairman) and Mrs Iyingi Numbere as Secretary.