The Attorney General of the Federation (AGF) and Minister of Justice, Abubakar Malami, has stated that the Federal Government will prosecute officials over mismanagement of funds allocated to the Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC).
The Attorney General disclosed this after the forensic report was presented to President Muhammadu Buhari on Thursday, which showed that the Commission had not accounted for lack of infrastructure despite trillions allocated to it.
What the Attorney General of the Federation said
Malami said, “The call for the audit by the people of the Niger Delta Region arose from the huge gaps between resources invested in the region vis a vis the huge gap in infrastructural, human and economic development.
“It is on record that between 2001 and 2019, the Federal Government approved N3.3 Trillion as budgetary allocation.
“A total of over N6 trillion was given to the NDDC.
“Consequently, the Federal Executive Council (FEC) approved the engagement of a lead forensic auditor, as well as 16 reputable audit firms to conduct the audit exercise.
“The President is delighted that the auditors have now completed this exercise and the report is today being presented.”
Malami added that Buhari’s administration was determined to address the challenges militating against the delivery of the mandate of the NDDC to the people of the Niger Delta Region.
“It is in the broader context of the foregoing developments that the President recently signed into Law the Petroleum Industry Act (PIA) which has been a contentious issue over the years for successive Governments.
“The PIA will bring about the prudence and accountability in the Petroleum Sector and give a sense of participation and ownership to the host communities.”
He added that the FG owed a duty to the people of the Niger Delta Region to improve their standard of living through the provision of adequate infrastructural and socio-economic development.
“The welfare and socio-economic inclusion of the Niger Delta Region is paramount to the development and security of the region and by extension, the country.
“Funds spent on development activities should as a consequence promote political and socio-economic stability in the region.”
On components of the audit report, Malami said the FG had on record over 13,777 projects, the execution of which had been substantially compromised. The Federal Government was also concerned with the multitude of NDDC bank accounts amounting to 362 and lack of proper reconciliation of accounts.
“We will in consequence apply the law to remedy the deficiencies outlined in the audit report as appropriate.
“This will include but not limited to initiation of criminal investigations, prosecution, recovery of funds not properly utilised for the public purposes for which they were meant and review of the laws to reposition and restructure the NDDC, for efficiency and better service delivery, amongst others.
“In all these instances of action, legal due processes will be strictly complied with,” he assured.
In case you missed it
Recall Nairametrics reported earlier that President Muhammadu Buhari on Thursday received the final report on the forensic audit report of the Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC) from the Minister of Niger Delta Affairs, Godswill Akpabio.