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FG inaugurates physical verification of NDDC forensic audit – Minister

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FG inaugurates physical verification of NDDC forensic audit – Minister

By Desmond Ejibas

The federal government on Saturday announced it had flagged the physical verification phase of the Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC) forensic audit.

Niger Delta Affairs Minister Senator Godswill Akpabio opened the exercise in Uyo, Akwa Ibom, according to a statement from NDDC Director of Corporate Affairs Dr Ibitoye Abosede.

According to the statement, Akpabio said 16 auditors on the ground had been selected to immediately identify and verify the more than 12,000 projects in the nine states of the Niger Delta.

He said, “It is President Muhammadu Buhari‘s position that in order for us to have a properly constituted council for the NDDC, we must first address the shortcomings of the NDDC since its inception.

“To that end, there is nothing our detractors haven’t done to stop the forensic audit. This has led some people to wonder if the forensic audit has been canceled, ”he said.

Akpabio attributed the slow forensic audit to budget delays, saying President Buhari stepped in to save the day.

“The president is determined not to leave the Niger Delta and NDDC as he met them. To demonstrate his commitment, President Buhari funds the forensic audit from the presidency’s budget.

“So I wonder why some people are going to peddle rumors that the forensic audit has derailed – when in fact the exercise is underway,” he said.

The minister criticized allegations that the forensic audit was being used as a ploy to continue with the interim NDDC administration, insisting that the security component of the audit exercise was as important as the ‘forensic audit itself – due to security concerns in the area.

According to him, the field visit was a crucial next step which would be followed by the production of the forensic report.

“Physical verification is a very serious exercise, so its findings can lead to legal action against contractors, who abandoned their contracts without terminating them,” he said.

Dr Babayo Ardo, permanent secretary of the ministry, said the forensic audit of NDDC headquarters in Port Harcourt, Rivers, had been concluded.

He said the second phase of the audit exercise would begin with the inspection of over 12,000 identified project sites in the region.

Also speaking, NDDC Interim Administrator Efiong Akwa said the commission had set up a committee to travel to states, to ensure that previous verification exercises were conducted in a transparent manner. .

“The committee would move around the sites with a formidable security escort to ensure their safety and ensure that the verification was done correctly,” he said.

For his part, the lead forensic auditor, Joshua Basiru, assured the auditors’ commitment to fulfill their mandate for the repositioning of the NDDC.

He said that despite the difficulties encountered during the first phase of the audit, his team has made good progress in accordance with the “medico-legal terms of reference”.

“I therefore urge the forensic auditors in the field and their teams to render their professional services diligently and meticulously for the success of the forensic audit,” he said. (NOPE)

(NAN)

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