Group demands release of NDDC forensic audit report

Social Action has called on the Federal Government to release the long-awaited audit report of the Niger Delta Development Commission.

The civil advocacy group said in a statement that the report from a forensic audit carried out on the operations of the NDDC after the an ad-hoc committee of the Senate inaugurated an investigation in October 2020 should be released to the public.

According to the statement, the Minister for Niger Delta Affair, Mr Godswill Akpabio, said a week ago that the team of auditors charged with the audit had submitted the report to his office.

Social Action said, “It would be recalled that in October 2020, the media was filled with several reports of unprecedented and monumental corruption manifesting in extensive contract frauds, procurement law infractions, non-budgetary and extra-budgetary spending, audit violations, cronyism, fiscal recklessness and flagrant disregard to procedural rules as well as other financial malpractices levelled against the management of NDDC.

“The commission has failed to meet the needs and aspirations of the people of the Niger Delta. Rather than promoting the region’s development agenda in line with its mandate, the NDDC has become a cesspool of corruption for which many of its past and present leaders have not only been complicit, but have been indicted (in both past and present probes and investigations).”

The group added, “These heavily weighted allegations are all in the open before citizens of Nigeria. We, therefore, see no reason why the outcome of the report should be locked in secrecy.

“We hereby call on the president to promptly implement the recommendations of the audit report and anyone found wanting be prosecuted with immediate effect. The Ministry of the Niger Delta Affairs should also be mandated to make the forensic audit report available to the public as soon as possible.”

It said this would help build trust in the government and restore citizens’ confidence in the governance process.

“Doing this will dispel the fears of any attempt to cover-up the sins of some considered to be in high places or any plans to present a watered-down version of the report,” the group added.

PUNCH

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