Forensic auditor begins physical verification of NDDC projects

Owerri: The forensic auditing firm, BBC Professional hired by the Federal Government to investigate projects awarded by the Niger Delta Development Commission NDDC,in Imo State has commenced physical verification of projects executed by the Commission in the state.

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The firm handling the Lot 8 segment of the forensic audit exercise which is ongoing across the nine states that made up the Niger Delta region has just commenced works last Thursday due to the civil disturbances witnessed in Imo state in the last few weeks.

The physical verification exercise was flagged off by the Federal Government on April 17, 2021, but the exercise could not start in Imo State on scheduled on account of security challenge experienced in the state.

Although the report of the forensic audit of the Commission was expected to reach President Muhammadu Buhari’s desk before July 31.

This development might however necessitated the audit firm which is handling over 1,000 cases in the state to ask for extension of time to pave the ways for a comprehensive exercise.

Though the timely submission of the report will also facilitate the inauguration of  a substantive board for the NDDC by the Federal Government.

Speaking with journalists during the physical verification exercise of the Commission’s projects at Umuokanne and other  communities in Ohaji Egbema, the team leader of the audit firm, Mrs. Gloria Wgwuenu noted that apart from starting the exercise behind scheduled, the firm was also finding it difficult to access the location of some of the projects.

According yo her, ”We commenced last week Thursday because of the security situation in Imo State.  some other States have starred before now. But of the security  situation, we are like the third batch that came in for the physical verification of the projects.

”So far, we have over 1,000 projects in this stare and we just covered few. We cant really say this is the specific project.

”We cant say really specifically say this is this because we have difference classes of projects. Some did not start, some starred, some ongoing, .

”Though we did not see  any of the  contractor  on he project site we have visited. Some are completed, some are nor even in use, and are are vandalised.

”So, these are the categories of what we have seen so fae. We are still on it.

On whether the firm can meet the July dateline for submission of thief finding’s, she said ”I can’t say because we just started. I can’t say.

”You know sometimes to even locate a project site is difficult and that is why we have this in-house people that can really trace , use the description in the paper, in all available documents to locate those places.

On whether the audit firm we ask for extension of time given the high volume of work to be done, Mrs. Egwuenu said, ”Yes, yes.”

In his remarks earlier, the Deputy Director, Projects at the NDDC, Engr. Raymond Ogara said the state have benefited from so many projects executed by the Commission.

According to him, =The road which is calledObinze/Umuokanne/Ilile/Umuapo road links Oduga, Umuolo, Umuezita, Umuobogwo, then the second road project which has been completed for a long time passed through Umuobogwo and Umuokuzu.

“The water project in Umuezita was intended to go not more than 1km from the engine house, it was complete and later went bad, but currently rehabilitated, and the reticulation is intended to cover up to 3km.

“We also have have transformers sited at Umuolo and Umuokuzu, they completed and functional. We inspected an injection centre sub-station of 1/15 MVA that was intended to power the entire Ohaji from Umuokanne, the community has provided the land, but the contractor has not mobilized to site”, he said.

Engr Ogara further said that NDDC also built a 6 classroom block with offices and toilets facilities, a Science Laboratory block for a secondary school in Umuezita.

“Our flagship projects are renovation of schools, and most of them are found in Egbema axis where the schools became dilapidated and there was need to give it a face-lift, NDDC was prompt and they are in good conditions”, he added.

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