The house of representatives committee on public accounts has launched an investigation into the alleged payment of N70.495 billion for abandoned Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC) projects.
The house panel said at its investigative hearing at the weekend that the money was paid as mobilisation fee to 1,773 contractors who did not execute the projects between 2008 and 2012.
Wole Oke, the committee chairman, said the probe was occasioned by audit queries issued to the NDDC by the office of the auditor-general of the federation (OAuGF) on the projects.
But Itu Ubi, the NDDC acting director of internal audit, said only N19 billion is yet to be recovered from the contractors awarded the projects.
Oke directed the NDDC management to provide details of the projects and the defaulting contractors as well as the statements of account showing the recovered funds as claimed by Ubi.
The report by the OAuGF indicated that 219 audit queries have been issued on NDDC finances, and 90% of contractors engaged by the commission between 2011 and 2012, were mobilised for contracts that ought to have been completed within six months without reporting to site.
The report also showed that 60 percent of the contractors had claimed to have completed the projects, but the claims could not be verified.
But Ubi, who represented Kemebrandikumo Pondei, the NDDC managing director, said the funds were released to the banks that guaranteed the contractors.
He said most of the funds paid have been recovered from the defaulting contractors and the commission is only after N19 billion, and not N70.4 billion as claimed by the committee.
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