Senate queries Niger Delta Basin over N220 million contracts fraud

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The Senate Committee on Public Account has queried the Niger Delta Basin Development Authority (NDBDA) over N220 million contracts awarded and fully paid for, but not executed.

The query followed the report of Auditor General of Federation, Anthony Ayine, which uncovered massive corruption in the agency.

The contracts were awarded on October 18, 2012.

The Auditor-General Report reads, ” N9.2 million being expenditure for the unexecuted contract for the construction of 10 No’s Mono hand pump boreholes in Obo-Akpor LGA Rivers state was awarded to a company through letter reference AD/NDBDS/C/20/12/050 and dated 18th October, 2012

“It was claimed that the job has been completed and payment effected.

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“However, audit inspection revealed the boreholes on the sites were in existence even before the contract was awarded.

“The contract construction of Solar power water project at Ekwetortor Delta state was awarded to a company on October 18, 2012, at the contract price of N10 million with completion of six and half weeks.

“The total contract sum had been paid but a visit to the site showed that the solar power was not working as the residents confirmed.”

The report observed that some aspects of the Job in the BEME worth N3.8 million value of the contract had not been done.

It stated that the contract for the rehabilitation of Otir Ewhu water project was awarded on October 18, 2013, for N40 million.

“Examination of payment vouchers revealed that the sum of N36 million paid into contractor included contingency provision of N3.5 million the reason for the inclusion for justification for the utilization of the contingency was provided.

” During the inspection, it was observed that some provision of BEME was out as stated.”

The report had directed the Managing Director to recover N13 million being valued of work not done and unexplained expenditure.

It added, “The contract for the construction of solar power boreholes in 19 various communities in Bayelsa was awarded to a company on October October 18, 2012, at the contract price of N238 million with a completion period of 3 months.

“The BEME for the job had provision for items of measurable nature and items value that have no strengthening and capacity building throughout the duration of the project, providing for riverine transportation cost of upland locations contingencies and so on to the tune of N33 million which was expended without recourse to extant regulations.

“Payment for the contract value had been effected vide 2 PVs. No’s 026 of 11/072013 and 080/of 01/11/2013.

“However a visit to two of the sites ( Ebenedebiri and Trofani) showed that the total value of work not done at two locations was N14 million because the project at Trofani was not executed.

“The sum of N14 million paid for work not done and provisional inclusion spent without recourse to the extant regulations, respectively, cannot constitute legitimate change against public funds.

” Therefore, the total sum of N47 million should be refunded.”

The Senate panel also queried the authority for another N79 million.

According to the Auditor general, all the issues raised were communicated to the Managing Director of NDBDA through an audit inspection report in July 2016.

The Managing Director of the Authority, Tonye David-West, struggled to impress the committee chaired by Senator Mathew Urhoghide.

The committee, therefore, sustained all the queries issued by the Office of Auditor General of the Federation.

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