The federal executive council yesterday approved the take-off of the N2.5bn Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC) forensic audit.
It also approved the appointment the appointment of eight field forensic auditing firms including Ernst & Young and Co, an international group of forensic auditors, to carry out the assignment.
The minister of Niger Delta Affairs, Mr. Godswill Akpabio, who disclosed this to newsmen at the end of the virtual of federal executive council meeting said the forensic field auditors who would earn N722.3 million.
He said the new approval was different from the N318 million earlier approved for some lead auditors for a similar job.
The NDDC had in February this year appointed Olumuyiwa Bashir & Co as the Lead Forensic Audit Consultant for the forensic audit exercise, at the cost of N318m.
The minister revealed that Buhari had last year approved an estimated amount of N2.5bn for the forensic audit.
“So, everything we are spending now will come from that estimated sum. Initially, it should have come from the budget of the NDDC, but because of the delay and the inability to pass the 2020 budget, the entirety of the amount that will be spent will come from the budget of the presidency. That’s why there was a delay, but we are on course right now.”
He said about 12,000 abandoned projects of the NDDC in the last 19 years would be reviewed by the appointed auditors.
He said the forensic audit was to address the issues of misappropriation, bribery, corruption and fraud that had militated against the success of the NDDC in the last 19 years.
He said the involvement of international forensic auditors, Ernst and Young, would help to set up modalities to avoid future fraud and governance structure that would move the NDDC forward and bring much more benefits to the people of Niger Delta.
“Earlier, we had the lead forensic auditor that was approved sometime in March and now we have about eight other forensic auditors who have been approved and they’re going to be working in the field in the Niger Delta region.
“One of them is an international group and they will be in charge of programmes and activities at the headquarters and the one is Ernst and Young. And so, Council graciously considered the memo and approval was given today.
“This has really kick-started the commencement of evaluation of the abandoned projects of NDDC in the last 19 years estimated almost 12,000 projects.
“At the end, we’ll be in the position to know the ones that could be completed, the ones that’ll be useful, the low hanging fruits that could be plucked for the benefit of the people of the Niger Delta region and through this exercise, we’ll know the amount of monies that have gone into the region in the last 19 years and whether the value we have received so far are commensurate with the monies that have entered into NDDC,” he added.