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Why MNDA cannot oversee forensic audit of NDDC— Groups


PAN Niger Delta Forum (PANDEF) and other groups have raised concern over political intrigues and primordial power play, aimed at scuttling effective audit of the Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC).

The outrage in the region was triggered by the Ministry of Niger Delta Affairs’ (MNDA) announcement to engage the services of 10 consulting auditors to audit NDDC.PANDEF Secretary General, Dr. Alfred Mulade, told The Guardian that MNDA’s decision to engage 10 auditors at this stage is to make a mockery of the entire exercise, since it supervises NDDC.

Mulade asked whether it was morally proper for MNDA to also be the one to assess the auditors. He noted that if MNDA was allowed to engage the auditing firms, it would give room for bias, and the country would not get the desired result at the end of the day.

“There is no way politics and other primordial interest will not creep in, due to the sensitivity of what the President pronounced,” he said. “If you allow this process to continue, those who have committed untoward activities will also not be sleeping. Corruption also fights back. I think it is going to be counterproductive.”

Mulade advised the Presidency to dust up the submissions of past presidential committees set up to probe alleged fraud in the NDDC, especially the one chaired by a former Head of Service, Mr. Steve Orosanye to actually ascertain the rot in the NDDC with a debt profile of over N2trn.

According to him, the Orosanye report that led to the dissolution of the then board restored some sanity to the beleaguered commission.“Since Mr. President has given a directive, the same Presidency should give the fiat… I expect the Presidency to appoint credible forensic auditors with integrity to go into the books and do their job without any form of political bias,” he said.

PANDEF expressed reservation that if MNDA was saddled with the responsibility of selecting the auditors, the firms might end up submitting a no-case report against NDDC.

Similarly, executive director of the Africa Network for Environment and Economic Justice (ANEEJ), David Ugolor, said the constitution of a three-man committee, who are All Progressives Congress (APC) members to head the NDDC was a mockery of what President has said about auditing the commission.

Ugolor said: “Is it not a conflict of interest? The Ministry of Niger Delta is suspected of complicity in the atrocity we are experiencing in NDDC. You are now asking the same ministry to oversee NDDC. And now, they have even gone further to sack the existing structure, bring in politicians and say they are going to engage 10 auditing firms, rather than looking for one good auditor with international expertise to do the work. It is now job for the boys.”

The chairman, Niger Delta Civil Society Coalition, Anyakwee Nsirimovu, said the unfolding intrigues at NDDC was part of grand power play geared at scuttling the effective forensic audit of the commission.


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