The Minister of Niger Delta Affairs, Senator Godswill Akpabio on Thursday submitted the Forensic Audit Report on the Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC).
The report was submitted to the President through the Attorney General of the Federation and Minister of Justice, Mr Abubakar Malami (SAN) in Abuja.
The Minister, who noted that although the exercise had a fitful history, thanked the President and all those who supported and ensured its success.
He reiterated that the exercise was not done to witch-hunt anyone but to ensure that the huge sums of funds committed to the area yearly were justified.
He bemoaned that the region had remained backward since 1958 in spite of successive governments’ efforts through the creation of various interventionist programmes and projects.
According to him, the report of the audit committee showed that there are over 13,000 abandoned projects in the Niger Delta, adding that even before the submission of the report some contractors have returned to site on their own accord and completed about 77 road projects.
Lead Forensic Auditor, Alhaji Kabir Ahmed, in a brief overview of the report, said the team recommended managerial as well as structural changes, topmost of which was the downsizing of the NDDC’s board.
He said to reduce cost the team recommended that members of the team should henceforth be appointed on part time basis.
The appointment of members of the board of the NDDC had been suspended until release of the audit report.
While disclosing that oil companies in the country are still in default of their contributions to the Commission, Ahmed said that the government should withdraw the license of any oil company which defaults for a period of three years.
The report also recommended the deduction of 15% ecological fund at source and to be paid to the commission because both the federal and state governments had failed to make payments to the commission.
In addition, the team recommended as a measure of effective revenue collections, that the Federal Inland Revenue Services should collect funds on behalf of NDDC from oil companies in the country.