THE TRUTH ABOUT NDDC FORENSIC AUDIT – By Charles Obi Odili

NIGER DELTA DEVELOPMENT COMMISSION

The Truth About NDDC Forensic Audit

The attention of the Niger Delta Development Commission, NDDC, has been drawn to certain publications that contain spurious allegations and imaginary reasons for the replacement of Gbene Dr. Joi Nunieh as Acting Managing Director/CEO. The reasons attributed to the sources quoted in the stories in these publications, are far from the truth.

These false allegations and made-up reasons pose a great threat to the acceptability and success of the forensic audit of the NDDC, directed by President Muhammadu Buhari, in response to popular demand by Governors of the Niger Delta States and other stakeholders. Hence, we are compelled to respond in order to save the forensic audit from being torpedoed by malicious campaigns of disinformation.

It is on record that President Buhari directed that the NDDC forensic audit, which has been widely applauded as a crucial move and the only process that can cleanse NDDC, be overseen by the Interim Management Committee, IMC. It is also a fact that President Buhari directed that the NDDC will continue to be supervised by the Ministry of Niger Delta Affairs.

Given these two directives by President Buhari, it needs no stretch of the imagination to say that the IMC has a duty to work in concert with the Ministry of Niger Delta Affairs to ensure the success of the NDDC forensic audit. Thus, the Minister of Niger Delta Affairs, Senator Godswill Akpabio, called a tripartite meeting of the ministry, the NDDC and the Lead Consultant of the forensic audit.

Ironically, while Nunieh was Acting Managing Director/CEO, she was said to have “stayed away from the meeting with the audit firm because she was insisting that the World Bank and the National Financial Intelligence Unit, NFIU, should be involved to supervise the forensic audit.”

The truth is that although NFIU and World Bank are respected organisations, they do not undertake audits of government agencies. However, they can certainly provide useful advisory services; and Minister Akpabio is already working with them. Therefore, it is fiction to claim that this issue was a source of friction between Nunieh and the Honourable Minister.

Furthermore, it is on record that the choice of a Lead Consultant for the forensic audit of the NDDC, which the abovementioned reports identified as a factor for her sack, was approved by the Federal Executive Council. Nunieh recommended Jake Riley & Co, to be Lead Consultant; and it was disqualified by the Bureau of Public Procurement (BPP) because it did not possess the necessary credentials within this context. The Lead Consultant has been appointed to play a coordinating role and help with the procurement process that will conclude with the selection of highly credible international-level regional auditors.

Consequently, the claim that Nunieh was removed because of her poor disposition to the choice of Messrs Olumuyiwa Bashiru and Co. as the Lead Consultant, is a great disservice to the forensic audit she had all along championed.

We would like to put it on record that the IMC remains focused on managing the forensic audit of the NDDC in an extremely transparent manner. To underscore the seriousness of the forensic exercise – and the Honourable Minister’s unyielding commitment to it – world-class individuals of proven integrity and competence have been drafted onto the IMC, to take us forward dynamically. Moreover, the new Acting Managing Director/CEO, Professor Kemebradikumo Pondei, is an academic of repute; and he is eagerly anticipating the opportunity to achieve impressive results with other members of the enlarged IMC, namely: the Acting Executive Director, Finance and Administration, Chief Ibanga Bassey Etang, Acting Executive Director, Projects, Dr. Cairo Ojougboh, Evangelist Caroline Nagbo, and a former Vice President of the African Development Bank, Mrs. Cecilia Akintomide.

No amount of malicious and selfish campaign to stand truth on its head will dissuade the IMC from delivering on its mandate. The great people of the Niger Delta – and all other well-intentioned stakeholders – should please disregard dishonest gossip and rest assured that the forensic audit is on course, to pave the way for the birth of a stronger and more responsive NDDC.

Charles Obi Odili
Director, Corporate Affairs
February 27, 2020

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.