The interim management committee of the Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC) says it has uncovered fraudulent contracts worth N1 trillion.
The committee said the 1,921 “emergency contracts” were awarded by the previous management.
This is coming months after President Muhammadu Buhari ordered a forensic audit of the operations of the commission.
Speaking at an event in Rivers on Thursday, Cairo Ojougboh, NDDC’s acting executive director, projects, said annual budget of the commission is just about N400 billion against the N1 trillion budgeted for contracts.
“In 2017, NDDC awarded a total of 201 emergency contracts valued at N100.4 billion while in 2018, a total of 1,057 emergency contracts valued at N162.69 billion were awarded,” Chijioke Amu-Nnadi, a deputy director, quoted Ojougboh as saying.
“We are talking about a total of over N1.3 trillion in less than three years. The yearly budget of NDDC is hardly above N400 billion.
“A situation where contracts that do not qualify for emergencies were fraudulently awarded to over N1 trillion in less than one year, this amounts to not only stealing from the pulpit but stealing the entire pulpit.
“At best, NDDC has been a lack-lustre performance, with very little to show for the humongous resources that have accrued to it over the past 19 years. Stories of pervasive corruption, flagrant abuse of due process, abandoned projects, poor quality project delivery, among others, at NDDC, have adorned our media space over the years.
“To this end, the contract verification committee will lay a foundation for the forensic audit of the activities of the commission from inception to date.
“Some of the contract awards were not only spurious but criminal, as available records showed that most of the awards were not backed by budget, bills of engineering measurement and drawings.
“They were just open cheques for contractors and their collaborators to fill in at the nearest banks.”