Auditor General of the Federation, Mr. Samuel Tyonongo Ukura, has reacted to the claims by the Niger Delta Development Commission, NDDC, in the media denying its findings on the Special Periodic Checks recently submitted to the National Assembly, wherein the commission was indicted to the tune of over N100 billion.
Mr. Ukura’s reaction is coming on the heels of the negative sentiments occasioned by the NDDC’s condemnation of the Special Periodic Checks circulated in the media to demean the efficacy of the constitutional mandate carried out by the Office of the Auditor General for the Federation.
A statement from the commission said it took NDDC 16 months to grant the Office permission to commence the periodic checks, beginning from December 9, 2011, to May 6, 2013.
The statement further said that, it took another 16 months and several reminders of the NDDC with effect from April 24, 2014, to August 12, 2015, before the final report was submitted to the National Assembly.
The AG however, expressed concern that at the movement, the NDDC is yet to respond to the Special Periodic Checks conducted by the auditor general, rather it resorted to diversionary issues that could demean the efficacy of the report.
The statement noted further that the Office of the Auditor-General for the Federation has a constitutional mandate to submit its reports to the National Assembly and in doing so, due process were usually followed. It is therefore important to let the NDDC and the public know that the Office of the Auditor General for the Federation stands by the Special Periodic Checks on the NDDC and its contents.
Meanwhile, the Managing Director of the Niger Delta Development Commission, NDDC, Dan Abia has denied that N183.7 billion is missing from the coffers of the commission as stated in a government audit report.
Mr. Abia, who spoke with journalists after briefing President Muhammadu Buhari on the activities of the NDDC, said the auditor general’s claim was untrue adding that he was not the commission’s managing director during the period reviewed by the auditor general of the Federation but express willingness to defend the commission with available records.
“Let me assure you that even by the admission of the auditor general, no N180 billion is missing. Because Advance Payment Guarantee, APG, as you know is governed by advanced payment directives.
“The office of the auditor general is a government agency. We shall engage the office and records will be straightened. I said even before the president that no N180 billion is missing,” Mr. Abia said.
He added, “Let me also tell you that I cannot be a party to contract splitting. NDDC is a very unique institution, we have a budgeting process. Those people that are now crying, where were they when NDDC was not having project up till the end of the year.
“It is only proper that we should come and brief the president. I requested to meet Mr. President in my capacity as the managing director of the NDDC. I was not summoned as reported in the media.
“We briefed the president on our mandate. As far as the audited account of the NDDC is concerned, how many of us know that the audited account under reference is that of 2008 to 2012. I was not the managing director then. Let’s get that fact clear,” he said.
With a huge debt of about N1.5 trillion hanging over the commission, there have been allegations of multi-billion financial scams against the commission.
It would be recalled that the Auditor General of the Federation, Mr. Samuel Ukura had recently revealed that N183 billion meant for the development of the Niger Delta was diverted and recommended that the money should be recovered.
Ukura stated this when he submitted three special audit reports to the Clerk of the National Assembly, Alhaji Salisu Maikasuwa and explained that the amount was discovered in the periodic checks carried out by his office on the activities and programmes of the Niger Delta Development Commission between 2008 and 2012.
According to him, N70.4 billion was paid as mobilisation to various contractors who never reported to site while N90.4 billion was the extra-budgetary expenditure “for Head and Sub-heads without approval by the legal authorities.”
He also said that N10bn was tax deductions without evidence of remittance to the Federal Inland Revenue Service; N5.8bn was payment to contractors for projects not executed, stalled or abandoned, while N1.2bn was the amount of taxes not deducted from contractors.
Ukura added that N3.1bn was transfers made to unauthorised accounts; N1.7bn was outstanding staff advances, which were never accounted for and that N785m out of N1.1bn meant for the supply of furniture to various schools Delta State was diverted.
He explained that the fund for the furniture supply was certified paid, whereas inspection carried out by the Auditor General’s office revealed that no single chair was distributed during the period under review.


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