NDDC FORENSIC AUDIT NOT FOR WITCH-HUNT – Pondei

Prof. Kemebradikumo Pondei

The Acting Managing Director of the Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC), Prof. Kemebradikumo Pondei, has assured that the forensic audit in NDDC between 2000 and 2019, ordered by President Muhammadu Buhari, is not for witch-hunt, but declared that there would be no sacred cows.

He also disclosed that President Buhari would be invited this year to inaugurate the 13-floor new permanent headquarters of the commission on Eastern Bypass in Port Harcourt, the Rivers State capital.

Prof. Pondei, who spoke during an inspection of the high-rise office complex, remarked that the building was impressive and a befitting testimony of what the NDDC was capable of achieving.

The NDDC chief, who was performing his first official assignment outside the commission, was accompanied by the Acting Executive Director, Finance and Administration, Chief Ibanga Bassey Etang; Mrs. Caroline Nagbo and Cecilia Bukola Akintomide, who are members of the enlarged Interim Management Committee (IMC) of NDDC.

He said: “We must make sure that this edifice is completed and handed over to Mr. President for inauguration within the second quarter of this year. We will give the contractor all the necessary support to ensure that the project is completed on schedule. The consultant has assured us that the contractors will achieve the March 31, 2020 target date for the completion of the project.”

Pondei also expressed satisfaction with what he saw at the new office complex, noting that it would provide a secure and conducive working environment for staff.

Talking about the forensic audit, which the IMC had been charged to oversee, the acting managing director said the commission was ready for the commencement of the exercise.

He said: “It is not going to be a witch-hunt. It is rather a measure that is necessary to find out what bedeviled the NDDC in the past. As such, the exercise will be carried out without fear or favour and there will be no sacred cows.

“It is part of the mandate of the IMC to reposition the NDDC and make sure that the mistakes of the past are corrected and ensure that going forward, NDDC will work towards realising its mandate of fast-tracking development in the Niger Delta region.

“The IMC will change the way things have been done in the past and we are determined to work as a team. The Minister of Niger Delta Affairs, Senator Godswill Akpabio, has charged us to change the way things are done in NDDC and focus on executing legacy projects that will impact lives in the region.”

The NDDC chief also assured that members of the IMC would work as a team to achieve the goal set for them by President Buhari. He said: “We intend to work in synergy with members of the National Assembly and our supervising Ministry of Niger Delta Affairs.”

The Project Coordinator of the NDDC permanent headquarters, Ebiwene Bozimo, an architect, affirmed that the contractors would meet the target date of March 31 for the “practical completion” of the project.