Senate probes payment of N698m for ‘unexecuted’ NDDC contract

The Senate has commenced investigation of alleged payment of N698 million by the Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC) for an unexecuted security contract.
National Assembly. Photo/facebook/TopeBrown/NigerianSenate
National Assembly. Photo/facebook/TopeBrown/NigerianSenate

The Senate has commenced investigation of alleged payment of N698 million by the Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC) for an unexecuted security contract.

The Public Accounts Committee of the Senate, which is carrying out the investigation, confirmed to The Guardian yesterday that the contract for security surveillance of NDDC projects was awarded to some retired security personnel.

The committee chaired by Senator Matthew Urhoghide said its investigation was based on an audit report which indicted the NDDC.
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According to the committee, the contract for the security surveillance was not subjected to open competitive bidding as stipulated by the Public Procurement Act 2007 24 (1).

The audit query for the NDDC which was sent to the panel and sighted by The Guardian reads: “It was observed from the payment documents that between January 2017 and June 2018, the sum of N698 million were expended or transferred to private security consultants for the ‘Regional Security’ Surveillance of NDDC projects in Niger Delta.

“Engaging private security outfits in this volatile terrain is highly doubtful as they cannot be better than the Nigerian military , police , NSCDC who are always at the service of the commission.

“The audit team tried to sight the contract files of the security consultants with a view to verifying the term of engagement and the NSCDC clearance but all efforts proved abortive.

“Thus, it became very difficult or impossible to verify this claim as many of the purported private security consultants are not security outfits.

“Audit inspection at the Niger Delta states offices and subsequent visitations to the project site could not find any contractor on site. And for those few that were on the site, only Setraco Nig. Ltd had soldiers on ground without the presence of the security as claimed.”

The audit query made it clear that the money is tantamount to payment for services not executed contrary to Financial Regulations 708 & 3104.

The audit report recommended that “the management of NDDC should ensure that the consultants refund the N698 million and furnish the office of the Auditor General for the Federation with evidence of recovery for authentication.”
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