NGO urges NASS to support NDDC forensic audit by interim committee

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THE Anti-Corruption and Research Based Data Initiative (ARDI) has advised National Assembly leadership to encourage the Interim Management Committee of the Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC) to conduct forensic audit of the commission.

Chief Dennise Aghanya, Executive Secretary of the organization made this call in a statement on Thursday in Abuja.

“This call is in line with our goal, which is to ensure leaderships devoid of corruption for the benefit of the society.

`As a result, we are urging the two chambers of the National Assembly to support the Interim Management Committee of the NDDC, with Dr Gbene Nunieh as the Acting Managing Director, for the Forensic audit.

“This was purely an assignment President Buhari mandated them to carry out through the Minister of Niger Delta Affairs, Sen. Godswill Akpabio’’, Aghanya said.

The executive secretary said the organisation had written letters to the leadership of the two chambers of the national assembly informing them why it was imperative to allow the interim committee to conduct the audit.

Aghanya said the support of the legislature was necessary to deflate series of accusations and counter accusations by the leadership of the two chambers of the National Assembly against both the committee and NDDC management.

“The common denominator for all the parties involved in the squabble is that there is urgent need to curb the monumental fraud being perpetuated in the Niger Delta Development Commission, (NDDC) since its inception.

“ In demonstration of this, a three-man Interim Management Committee, with Dr Gbene Nunieh as the Acting Managing Director, was appointed to oversee the activities of the commission and to carry out a forensic audit.

“Before now, there was a Board earlier appointed by Mr president to manage the commission. Members were screened and approved by the Senate but the president in his wisdom did not inaugurate the members.

“Also, as part of the oversight function of the National Assembly, the two chambers expressed the desire to coordinate a forensic investigation into the finances of the Commission since its establishment.

“With this conflict of interest playing out, the National Assembly leadership have refused to recognise the Interim Management Committee of the NDDC in all capacities and stopped the approval of the commission’s 2019/2020 Budget.

“This development has no doubt, adversely affected the programmes and activities of the interim management committee’’, he said.

Aghanya said: “our investigation clearly shows that there is a smooth working relationship between president Buhari’s-led federal executive who appointed the Interim Management Committee of the NDDC and the 9th National Assembly.

“But further investigations suggest that the crux of the matter may be a resurrection of personal differences between some major players involved in the game which has stalled level of progress in the assignment the president has given.

“This is a most disturbing development as the direct looser are the people of Niger Delta and Nigerians in General’’.

He further said: “in assessing the current situations, there is no ambiguity in the body language of the executive that it is very comfortable using the Interim Management Committee to achieve its purpose for the forensic audit’’.

According to him, there is the compelling for the extension of the life span of the committee.

“We are of the opinion that since the executive arm of government has more confidence in the interim committee, the National Assembly should encourage the committee to carry out the audit as mandated by the president.

“On the bases of their findings, the National Assembly can further carry out its oversight duty by further verifying the audited report of the Nunieh-led committee.

“If these happened, the goal of both arms of government would have been achieved without bitterness.

“We, therefore, request the legislature to consider the interest of the nation and support the committee to carry out the forensic audit without further interference.

“Whatever procedural errors that may have been committed by both parties (Executive and the Legislature) should be overlooked so that we do not lose sight of the major objective of the exercise, which is to investigate the alleged fraud in the NDDC.

Aghanya further explained that the task payers were eagerly waiting for the exercise to commence, adding that it would ensure that perpetrators were brought to book.

NAN

– Jan. 23, 2020 @ 17:31 GMT |

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