The Niger Delta Development Commission’s interim executive director, projects, Cairo Ojougboh, has claimed that the commission is owing phantom contractors an estimated N3 trillion.
Ojougboh, who spoke to newsmen in Abuja at the weekend on the controversy trailing the forensic audit of the NDDC directed by President Muhammadu Buhari, insisted the probe must go ahead.
He said one of such contractors was awarded over N300 million worth of contracts by the NDDC, out of which 120 of them had been fully paid for, even when he never mobilised to the sites.
Ojougboh particularly frowned at the resistance put up by a serving senator against the audit, accusing him of benefiting from the phantom contracts.
He alleged that the said contractor was mobilising thugs in the Niger Delta, especially in Bayelsa and Delta states, to to prevent the forensic audit.
“The Interim Payment Certificates (IPC) that are pending are worth over N3 trillion and that is what the NDDC is owing these phantom contractors.
“It is these phantom contractors that are working to stop the forensic audit; all they want is for looting to continue in the commission. They want to bring puppets to manage the forensic audit because they know that the members of the Interim Management Committee will not compromise.
“If you look at the records at the NDDC, you will cry; some genuine people that have done jobs for the board have not been paid for over 15 years and their families are suffering. Many of those who were paid are these phantom contractors,” Ojougboh said.
He stated that 10 reputable firms would be engaged to conduct the forensic audit, and anybody working to stop the forensic audit was not a proper human being and was not doing so in the interest of Nigeria and the Niger Delta.
“Each of the nine states in the NDDC community would be handled by an audit firm, while the headquarters would be handled by one to maximise time,” he said.
Ojougboh said the Niger Delta wanted a forensic audit of the NDDC, and was already asking how it would be conducted properly to achieve the best result.
He explained that their task was not to protect any interests, but to help auditors do their job as required. Ojougboh said anyone working to frustrate the auditing of the NDDC wanted corruption to continue.
In his words, the assignments given to the commission’s incoming board and the interim management committee were completely different.
“Ours is to supervise and aid the forensic team to do their job,” he said.
Meanwhile, the Niger Delta Peoples Liberation Force (NDPLF) has accused Minister of Niger Delta Affairs, Godswill Akpabio, of playing god for setting up a three-man NDDC interim management committee, led by Mrs. Joy Ghene Nuieh as acting managing director, without approval from President Buhari.
The group also berated Akpabio for his overbearing influence in the NDDC and demanded transparency and accountability if corruption is to be halted in the Ministry of Niger Delta Affairs.
The NDPLF stated this in a statement by its Convener,Mr. Aaron Akpoyibo in Benin City.