The allegations of corrupt practices in the Niger Delta Development Commission NDDC is assuming a new twist as members of the House of Representatives lashed at Central Bank of Nigeria CBN, Accountant-General of the Federation and the Auditor-General of the Federation for allegedly approving the spending N81.5 billion on audit of the agency between January and June 2020.
The lawmakers at an investigative hearing on the ongoing foresinc audit of the NDDC had discovered that a whopping N81.5 billion was expended on the audit of the agency by the Interim Management Committee IMC.
The House Committee on NDDC had grilled the Central Bank of Nigeria CBN, Accountant-General of the Federation, Auditor-General of the Federation and the Bureau of Public Procurement BPP over the manner in which the huge funds were spent by the managers of the audit exercise.
Speaker of the House Mr Femi Gbajabiamila in an opening remark said the House is putting all its weight on the investigation because of the role of the NDDC as an interventionist agency.
He noted that despite mudslinging, the probe by the National Assembly of the NDDC will make the agency to be more focused in delivering its mandate.
Similarly, Chairman of the House Committee Mr Olubumi Tunjj-Ojo said the investigation will lead to a total turn around in fortune of the Niger Delta region of Nigeria.
He revealed that N21.5 bn was expended on community relations, N1.3bn on condolences,N122.9 m on COVID-19, N486m on imprest account, N490m on legal services, N900m on maintenance and other huge amounts making up the total sum.
The lawmaker further said that the CBN and the Accountant-General had confirmed that the N81.5 billion was expended on the audit of the agency and the audit was done against provisions of the Public Procurement Act.
He also said that the huge sum was not captured in the agency’s 2020 budget and anything not captured in the annual budget of a government agency is extra-budgetary spending.
The lawmaker had queried the Auditor-General of the Federation Mr. Anthony Ayine who was represented by Mr Sabo Mohammed, Director of Funds asking if the forensic auditors are supposed to be registered and he spoke in the affirmative.
He however told the committee that the Auditor-General of the Federation is not direct auditor of the agency as Sect 85 of the 1999 Constitution prevents the office from carrying out such audits.