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Reps invite Alaibe, Nsima Ekere, others over alleged contract scam

The House of Representatives invited former Niger-Delta Development Commission, NDDC, Timi Alaibe, Nsima Ekere and other officials, including Nelson Brambaifa, Emmanuel Agwariavwodo, to appear before them on Friday for N61.4 billion abandoned projects .

The invitation was made on Wednesday after the Green Chamber grilled officials of the Commission.

The officials questioned by the legislators were the interim Managing Director, NDDC, Akwagaga Enyina; Director of finance and supplies, Linus Ogbalubi; and director of project monitoring and supervision, Ukeme Nkamare.

The House of Representatives asked them to provide documents on overpayment of contractors and contracts awarded without execution.

The ad hoc committee set up by the House of Representatives to investigate projects abandoned by the NDDC raised a series of questions, about the way in which several contracts were presumably awarded and paid by the commission outside the commission’s approved budget.

The chairman of the commission, Nicholas Ossai, read some parts of a report of the Office of the General Auditor on the activities of the NDDC between 2013 and 2018.

He quoted the report saying that “Considering the enormous amount of money paid to the contractors as mobilization commissions without derived value, it can be said that the commission lacked effective control in the contracting and payment process”.

According to Ossai, the key question raised by the auditors, to which the NDDC had not yet responded, was that the commission should have recovered the sum of N61.4 billion raised by the contractors.

He cited a case on how the 250 road emergency repair contracts were awarded at the beginning of the year without the approval of the Public Procurement Office and outside the NDDC approved budget.

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The committee also asked how a contractor was paid more than 50 percent of the contract sum of over N1 billion, with only 11 percent of the work done and the contract was canceled and recaptured for over N10 billion.

Ossai asked if the NDDC could remember having granted a contract to a company for the protection of the Ogborodo coast.

“The figure here is that the contract, with a sum of N1.042bn, was awarded to this engineering company and examination of the NDDC contract payment status from the Finance and Account Department revealed that the contractor had been paid 50 per cent – N521.3m – for job that was done less than 11 per cent,” he stated.

Based on the inability of the NDDC officials to answer several questions posed to them, the committee invited all the former managing directors of the commission, including Timi Alaibe, Nsima Ekere, Nelson Brambaifa, Emmanuel Agwariavwodo, to appear before them on Friday over N61.4bn abandoned projects.

It also stated that the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission would be invited to investigate the matter.