Dr. Cairo Ojougboh, the acting executive director of projects in the Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC) has said that between 2016 and 2019, emergency contracts were awarded to the tune of over N2trillion and supervised by the Senate and House of Reps committee chairmen on the NDDC.
He said these contracts were solely supervised by the two committee chairmen, whom he did not name, without the knowledge of the Senate President and Speaker of the House of Representatives. He said the Senate Committee chairman on NDDC alone collected 1000 jobs to himself, claiming that the jobs would be given to the Senators but he alone cornered all of them.
He said in 2016, the Senate Committee chairman of the commission reportedly told the Bureau for Public Procurement (BPE) to include N15billion project for him but after painstaking work to include the projects, on return to the Senator, he told them it was N150billion and not N15billion, noting that the BPE rejected the move.
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“Let me say this. The Senate President and the Speaker are not aware of what the chairmen of the Senate and House Committees are doing in the National Assembly and members of the committees are also not aware. It is just a –one squad.
“Between 2016 and 2019, emergency contracts of over N2trillion were awarded under the supervision of the chairmen of both committees. In the list of awards, the chairman senate committee said the contracts were collected on behalf of the senate. The senate members are not aware. He collected 1000 of those jobs. He said he was going to give them to the senate. The records are there.
“These contracts were collected by a man called Nelson Agbamuche on behalf of the Senate. The immediate crisis now was a result of the budget. It was in 2016, the bureaucracy told us when we came in, that in 2016, 2017, 2018 there was no budget. The budget for 2019 was just passed.
“The Chairman of Senate Committee called the Bureau in 2016 and said look you need to include N15billion project for me. The bureaucracy said no problem. They worked it out. When they came back, the chairman said no, I didn’t say N15bn but N150bn. They went back and they couldn’t comply.
“The chairman now went back to the Bureau and said why don’t we award these projects under emergency? Why going through due process? That was why due process was circumvented. The commission now had a commitment of over N3trillion.
“That is why the IMC and the Honourable Minister said no, we have to right these things. Again, the chairman of House committee brought out an emergency training programme of N6.4billion. He said he has met the first milestone and we should pay him N3billion. We told him these milestones cannot be paid because you have not done it. He said the job belongs to the Speaker. We went to meet the Speaker and the Speaker said he is not aware of such things. When they passed the 2019 budget, the Chairman House Committee now included it and that we must pay the money.
“Now, they are saying we have stolen N40billion, how can that be possible? All the payments we have made on projects, I took my time to verify and inspect them. I recorded them. And when we are satisfied that you have done what merits payment, we pay you. We were not paying as they used to pay. So, the contractors are now angry.
“Normally, once you have a contract with NDDC, it is like you have won a lottery. A contract they will award to you for N700m, you can use N10 or N20million to finish it. So, when we inspect the projects, we now look at the bill of engineering quantity, we rate it based on the job you have done. We issue you IPC for that job. In that process, we have saved the commission over N50billion already.”