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NDDC: “Forensic audit not to witch-hunt anyone, group”- Pondei.

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Amaechi Okonkwo, Port Harcourt.

Acting Managing Director of the Niger Delta Development Commission NDDC,Prof. Kemebradikumo Pondei has stated that the forensic audit of the Commission ordered by President Mohammadu Buhari was not to witch-hunt any individual or group.

Speaking while handing over the additional tools, to 16 field forensic auditors involved in the audit of the Commission to facilitate the on-going forensic exercise.

Some of the tools handed over include 10 Hilux vehicles and five buses.

They also gave tools to 16 field forensic auditors involved in the audit of the Commission to facilitate the on-going forensic exercise.

The commission had on Thursday announced planned takeover all original contract files relating to projects and programmes awarded by the NDDC between 2001 and 2019 by the lead consultants, Olumuyiwa Basiru & Co.

It said the takeover of the contract files by the auditors marked the commencement of the next stage of the exercise which started with the handover of contract documents covering projects captured during the verification exercise in April 2020.

Pondei stated: “The forensic audit was set up by President Muhammadu Buhari to look into the activities of NDDC from inception, 20 years ago, to August 2019. It is on that note that the lead forensic consultant was appointed and 16 field forensic auditors procured to handle the process.

“We are here to hand over more tools to the auditors to assist them in the ongoing forensic audit of the commission.

The NDDC boss added that the exercise would make the commission more effective and transparent, stating: “We hope that at the end of the day, the forensic audit will unravel a lot of things that have gone wrong in the Commission. It is not a witch-hunting process, but just for us to truly know the state of things and recommend a way forward and make sure that the Commission delivers on its core mandate.”

In his remarks, the Acting Executive Director, Finance and Administration, Mr Effiong Akwa, stated that the exercise, which was designed to ensure proper accountability and transparency, would advance the cause of the Niger Delta region.

He thanked President Buhari and the Minister of the Niger Delta Affairs, Senator Godswill Akpabio, for their roles in setting up the forensic audit, noting that it would take the Niger Delta region a step further in terms of development.

The Managing Partner of the lead consultants, Olumuyiwa Basiru & Co, Mr Joshua Bashiru, said the audit was in fulfillment of the directive of the President, noting that the 16 audit firms would be probing the finances, contracts and projects and programmes executed by the NDDC since 2000.

Also speaking, the Principal Consultant, Alhaji Kabiru Ahmed, said the audit exercise was a turning point in the quest to find out what had gone wrong in the Commission since its inception.

He said: “Today signifies another important milestone to unraveling what has happened in this organization in the last 20 years”.

Ahmed explained that the auditors were at the NDDC to introduce the field forensic auditors involved in the process and update the management on the progress of the forensic exercise so far.

“We will meet with NDDC state directors and departmental directors to enable the auditors to understand how the various units work,” he said.

Ahmed assured that the auditing firms would carry out a transparent audit towards interrogating all the financial activities of the NDDC.

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