The Federal Government is to probe N700 billion worth of projects in the Niger Delta, which were awarded by the late President Umaru Yar’Adua/Goodluck Jonathan administrations.
Minister of Niger Delta Affairs, Usani N. Usani, who disclosed this while briefing State House correspondents after yesterday’s Federal Executive Council, FEC, meeting chaired by acting President Yemi Osinbajo, said those found culpable would either be made to return the money or face the anti-graft agencies.
He said that 60 percent of the contract sum, about N423 billion, had been released for the 427 projects in the region without corresponding performance at the project sites.
His words: “Today, (yesterday) FEC received approval of a project technical audit committee report which was carried out by the ministry in investigating all contracts awarded and projects and programmes carried out in the ministry from inception of the ministry, from 2009 to 2015.
“The revealing content of the report shows that over N423 billion had been expended in the region by the ministry alone, besides other intervening agencies.From this amount, project execution rate was 12 per cent, with an average completion rate of a project standing at five years.”
And the impact rate is eight percent.”
“So, today we have sought approval from Council to have the recommendations of this report conveyed to the legitimate agencies charged with the statutory responsibilities of recovering government assets that were either misappropriated, misused or fund to be idling in some quarters.
“With this, it means all those who have accessed government resources for one purpose or another must be compelled to make adequate use of same otherwise face the recommendations that go with such violations and that is our position concerning the report. And we have got Council approval for that.
“It’s also important to place emphasis on the fact that in the region of 60percent resources in terms of funds had been paid out to contractors with that 12 percent completion rate. When we say 60 percent, it is 60 percent of the amount of money that was actually appropriated, being N700bn. And so, 60 percent of that constitutes N423 billion.
“So, to find that N423bn had been expended in the region with the type of result we see obviously shows that there is something obviously wrong with how procurement had been carried out in the ministry.”
The minister added that government officials who evaluated such projects and were found to have compromised would face sanctions.