AuGF queries payments, contracts, others in report on NDDC, NBET
The House of Representatives Committee on Public Accounts yesterday received the auditor’s reports on the activities of the Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC) and Nigeria Bulk Electricity Trading (NBET) Plc which are replete with queries.
Chairman of the committee, Wole Oke (PDP-Osun), confirmed the receipt of the reports on the NDDC from 2013 to 2018 and the reports on NBET from 2017 to 2019, from the Office of the Auditor General of the Federation (AuGF).
The lawmaker promised that his panel would give accelerated consideration to the reports upon resumption by the House from its annual recess next month.
Some of the queries issued in the reports border on payment of medical check-up expenses to part-time board members – N459.350 million; excessive payment of imprest to the executive board members – N1,358,300,000; engagement and payment of external solicitors without the consent of the Minister of Justice and Attorney General of the Federation – N1,582,986,030; irregularities in the award of contract for logistics and consultation services – N199,474,160.50; and award of emergency contracts without stating the costs – N3,001,517,063.27.
Others include doubtful commissioning of consultants for the studying and designing of projects after the award and execution of the relevant projects – N485,128,179.79; payment of rent to a legal advocate on a property that belongs to River State government but released to the Federal Government to house the NDDC headquarters – N1,225,000,000; payment of rent to retired generals for regional security surveillance of NDDC projects without evidence of service delivery – N698,128,550 as well as inappropriate payments of tenement rate without valid computation in line with the relevant tax laws – N725,460,000; appointments of special and personal assistants for members of the governing board and payment of their salaries and allowances as government expenses – N1,005,743,015.14.
The OAuGF also queried the N1,714,074,999.93 expended on the Partnership on Entrepreneurship Development Scheme without specific benefits or procedure for the recoupment of the NDDC investment; payment of N190,956,527.75 compensation through Chris Oghene Omoru & Co without evidence of job execution; irregular payment of N86,531,503 compensation; irregularities in payment of N2,527,000,000 for the supply of 3,852 doses of Hepatitis B vaccines, 1,570 doses of Typhoid vaccines (28) and supply of Lassa fever kits in (23 Lots) to NDDC warehouse in Port Harcourt and distribution, transportation and storage (5 Lots); payment of N949,220,780 for contract on dredging/desilting of Imo River, Onuimo and Ihitte Uboma (Lot 2), Imo State and payment of N994,415,000 for contract for the dredging/desilting of Obano-Okposha Oguta Lake Waterway (Lot 2), Imo State.
The NDDC was also queried over “Wastage of public fund due to collection of mobilization fees without reporting to project sites by contractors – N61,468,160,743.03; some former political office holders and some staff of NDDC retiring with government property in their possession without authorization; incomplete update on contract file; non-submission of comprehensive nominal roll to the periodic check team; appointment of staff on contract basis to the director level without taking into consideration the available vacancies, and appointment of directorate cadre personnel as political staff to serve as aides to board members.
For NBET, the queries include non-submission of annual audited financial statements for six years 2014 – 2019; payment for contracts not executed – N20,952,000; variation of contract without approval – N4,835,856.56; unauthorized payment for international training without – N85,632,229.55; payment without supporting documents of N1,310,000; and spending government funds on status vehicles.