In a bid to unravel misappropriation of funds in Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC), the Federal Government has approved another N722.3 million for the commission’s audit and has deployed no fewer than eight field forensic auditors to fast-track the exercise.
The approval came five months after N318 million was released for the commission’s audit, increasing funds spent to investigate over 12, 000 projects initiated by NDDC to over N1,040 billion.
Announcing the approval after Federal Executive Council (FEC) meeting on Wednesday, in Abuja, Minister of Niger Delta Affairs, Godswill Akpabio, said that the funds would be released directly from the Presidency.
Akpabio explained that President Muhammadu Buhari approved release of the funds to prevent delay in ongoing investigation since National Assembly was on break and the 2020 budget for the NDDC was yet to be passed.
The NDDC became a subject of controversy over allegations of corruption in the award of contracts and the non-payment of Nigerian scholars under the payroll of the commission.
The minister hinted that one of the auditors was an international group, Ernst and Young, and would be in charge of programmes and activities at NDDC headquarters in Port Harcourt, River States.
“At the end of the exercise, we will be in the position to know the ones that could be completed, the ones that will be useful, the low hanging fruits that could be plucked for the benefit of the people of the Niger Delta region and through this exercise, we will know the amount of monies that have gone into the region in the last 19 years and whether the value we have received so far are commensurate with the monies that have entered into NDDC,” he added.