A coalition of civil society groups on Friday in Abuja gave a graphic detail concerning the alleged involvement of two ranking legislators from the South South geopolitical zone, James Manager and Nicholas Mutu, in contract scam with officials of the Niger Delta Development Commission.
The organisation which likened the juicy chairmanship positions held by the two legislators to an exchanged of bribery and corruption between the leadership of both the Senate and House of Representatives, said it was high time all anti-graft agencies in the country swung into action to thoroughly probe the activities of the NDDC and all contracts awarded by the commission in the past five (5) years or more.
President of the coalition, Mr. Bassey Etuk and Secretary, Abubakar Ahmed, at a press briefing alleged that over 67 dubious contracts awarded by the NDDC within the last five years have not been fully executed while the legislators have continued to feign ignorance because they believed that they were untouchable in the eyes of the law.
Etuk said: “As we all know, the country is in a thorough renaissance in the light and spirit of the anti-corruption wind that is blowing across the length and breath of Nigeria. It is in the same spirit of the anti-corruption campaign that we are bent to unravel the corruption misery in NDDC in collaboration with some criminally minded Legislators in the National Assembly.
“Our findings reveals that the commission is riddled with different facts of corrupt practices ranging from outrageous inflated contracts, contracts splitting, non inspection of contracts for which payments have either been fully made or substantial percentage of the contracts sums released.
”We in the civil world are strongly calling on all anti-graft agencies to thoroughly and urgently probe the activities of the Commission and all contracts awarded by the commission in the past five (5) years or more.
”It is on record that the Auditor-General of the Federation had open the surface of the huge corrupt practices going on in NDDC via the 2013 Audit Report. The over ten years legislators in the National Assembly have turned themselves into legislative contractors because of the volume of contracts given to them by NDDC collocated with unregistered companies to execute the Jobs”.
He also took a swipe on the NDDC and alleged corruption within the system, saying it was unfortunate that billions could be stolen in the name of contracts while the Niger Delta as a region remained grossly under-developed in the face of billions allocated to the commission.”
Etuk listed 67 various corruption cases ravaging NDDC, including the construction of rigid pavement at Odorobu/Adobu road (phase 2) in Patani LGA of Delta State awarded to Arc. Marine & Civil Contractors.
While the construction of internal concrete pavement at Akugbene phase 2 at Bomadi LGA of Delta State was awarded to Complete Unit Ltd at the sum of N246,048,000.00, construction of Akugbene Esama Ogbein awarded to Messrs Deastern Elect & Mech Service Ltd was awarded the sum of N2,449,894,075.41.
Etuk revealed that the findings of the group also showed that some companies are used by the management of the commission to siphon money released by the Federal Government to NDDC, without the jobs awarded being done but money paid through the company’s bank account numbers.
“The companies are Skyview powertechnologiesLtd, Income Electrix Ltd, Kevtric Nig Ltd, Modev Nig Ltd, AVC Nig Ltd, UIDW Nig Ltd etc were used for Twenty Billion Naira (N2OB) for visibility study contract of electrification project to be carried out by the commission, though the management cunningly split the money to cover the companies concern”, he emphasised.
When contacted, the Public Affairs Manager of NDDC, Mr. Abosede Ibitoye described the allegations as lies because the commission has put in place some checks and balances to avoided a situation in which there would be up executed contracts for which money has been paid.
He said, “The allegations are not knew and they have been saying it over the years. Some people just sit down and assume that there is corruption in NDDC without knowing the measures and checks and balances we have put in place. How many letters (petitions) have they written to EFCC and ICPC? We have seen so many things,
“I am not aware of these allegations; how could we have awarded contracts without executing them? That is criminal, I am not sure we do such things. Our contracts are duly awarded, monitored and executed. We don’t pay APG again. But the last NDDC Board stopped APG, until you present Interim Payment Certificate duly certified that the job has been done, you won’t be paid. Without that nobody pays you.
“So, I don’t see anywhere a contract will be awarded without IPC and money will be paid. It is not done because where the particulars of that job are domiciled, the state officers, engineers and directors will have to certify that the jobs have been done. They have to sign, we told them that you are putting your certificates at stake because if we find out any discrepancy, you will go in for it. Our staff are mindful of all these and they are careful about any job not being done.”