Accuses Akpabio of Interference
The ongoing crisis rocking the Niger Delta Development Commission became messier as Ms. Joi Nunieh, former Acting Managing Director of the Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC), on Friday revealed that the much-touted forensic auditing reportedly going on in the agency was a farce.
In an appearance before the committee of the House of Representatives probing the affairs of the commission, conducted via Zoom, Nunieh blamed Niger Delta Affairs minister, Godswill Akpabio, for all the wrong doings that have bedevilled the agency in recent times.
According to the former NDDC boss, based on Akpabio’s instructions, some contracts were awarded by the Commission to unregistered companies. Such companies got registered after they had been awarded the contracts, she said.
“In some cases contracts were pre-awarded before the designs were given so you find out that most of the projects were abandoned,” she said.
Nunieh testified via zoom as her scheduled appearance before the committee in Abuja on Thursday was foiled by a team of policemen who laid siege on her residence in Port Harcourt.
The siege came to an end after she was rescued by Nyesom Wike, the governor of Rivers State.
She alleged that currently there is no forensic audit of NDDC going on. “The issue is that everyone in Nigeria has been deceived that the forensic audit is going on.
“I want to say here that if Nigerians find out that the forensic audit is going on every testimony and allegations that I have made should be canceled and disregarded. There’s no forensic audit going on,” she said.
She maintained that there’s no auditing firm in Nigeria of repute that is among those listed to carry out the exercise. Of the nine companies on that list, she said, “none of our major auditing companies in Nigeria is on that list. As to whether the forensic auditors have been engaged, she said the answer is ‘No’.
Nunieh explained that President Muhammadu Buhari had written a letter to the National Assembly ordering the forensic audit and suspending the appointment of a board for NDDC.
In that letter, she said the President explained that she was appointed to head the Interim Management Committee (IMC) to supervise the forensic audit and that that was the reason he was bringing in the IMC.
However, she said that “what I met wasn’t exactly what was going on. The Minister, Akpabio, insisted that he will supervise the forensic audit. I reminded him and showed him a letter that the President had written, Nunieh said.
Nunieh restated some of the allegations she made against Akpabio earlier this week, including making a request for funding from the Federal Executive Council to fund the forensic audit.
She said that Akpabio requested via a memo to the President money for forensic audit be gotten from the service-wide votes, but said that the President rejected that request. In writing Buhari said that it should be put in the NDDC appropriation budget, thereby making NDDC the procuring entity.
“Because I didn’t want any illegality or the forensic audit to be discredited, I ensured with the help of real consultants to help me come up with the terms for these auditors.,” she said.
According to her, the lead consultant that everyone is talking about is not a forensic auditor; only the others are forensic auditors.
‘The role of the lead consultant is to gather all the forensic auditors, all the reports and put it together and give it to the lead consultant who will do the reporting. That’s just his role,” she said.