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Senate summons NDDC chief over N65b contract

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The Senate on Thursday directed the Acting Managing Director, Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC), Dr Enyia Akwagaga, to appear before it next Tuesday.

Senate Committee on Public Accounts Chairman Matthew Urhoghide gave the directive following Akwagaga’s absence at a hearing on the award of N65 billion contracts.

The contracts were awarded between 2017 and this year for clearing water hyacinth and desilting rivers in the region.

Urhoghide said the Committee was aware that N2.5 billion was allocated for the contract, and that N65 billion has allegedly been spent so far.

He said that if the information is proven, it would mean that the budget for the contract has been exceeded.

Urhoghide said: “We want to ascertain if due processes were followed in the award of these contracts, particularly the information that we have at our disposal that they exceeded budget limits.

“What we know is that N2.5 billion was budgeted for the desilting and clearing of water hyacinths. We heard that the Commission has spent over N 65billion. This committee is charged with the responsibility of ensuring that there are transparency, accountability and economy, that is, there is value for money.

“Once we can ascertain that the Commission has done it well, of course, they are not going to have any problem. If not, we will recommend appropriate sanctions.”

The Committee also mandated the NDDC boss to forward all relevant information about the contracts to it on or before next Monday.

The required information includes the project title, contractors’ names and addresses, contract location, contract sum, date of award, the amount paid to date and the actual date of completion.

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The committee also demanded the original copy of all the newspaper advertisements for the contract, technical bids for the job by each of the bidders, financial bids submitted by each of the bidders, deduction of taxes, and evidence of remittances.

NDDC Director of Special Duties, Nosakhare Agbongiasede, said Akwagaga could not honour the invitation because she was indisposed.

“She is sorry for her inability to come,” Agbongiasede said.

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