NDDC moves against defaulting contractors, faults audit report
Some contractors who failed to deliver on the projects for which they collected mobilization fees in the Niger Delta may soon be dragged to the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) by the Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC).
Meanwhile, the commission has faulted an audit report on the NDDC presented to the National Assembly by the Auditor General of the Federation, Samuel Ukura.
Speaking in Abuja yesterday, the Executive Director, Finance and Administration of the NDDC, Dr. Itotenaan Henry Ogiri, said the NDDC stopped payment of mobilization to contractors because of abuse.
His words: “The NDDC has stopped the issuance of mobilization fees because of abuse by contractors. The standard practice in the NDDC now is to award contracts to contractors that have the capacity to execute projects without relying on mobilization fees.”
While faulting the audit report presented to the National Assembly, Ogiri explained that N70 billion allegedly pocketed or diverted is a spurious claim.
“Even though the spending took place under previous managements, when we came in, we met some Interim Payment Certificates (IPCs) that were due for payment and also completed certificates. The IPCs were in excess of N300 billion and some of them included this N70 billion that was reported ‘missing’.
So, if the auditor-general comes back to the records today, he will find out that the reported missing N70 billion is not true after all. What we are presently chasing is N11.7 billion outstanding, which is lodged in banks for anticipatory payment to contractors when jobs are eventually done. We have unofficially threatened some of the contractors and the banks where the money is kept that if they do not return the money, NDDC will drag them to court if work is not resumed at those sites.,” he said.
On the unremitted taxes, Ogiri explained that there were backlogs that were not paid by previous managements but that the current management has begun the payment.