Corruption detected in Nigerian oil and gas company

Corruption detected in Nigerian oil and gas company

/ News & Interviews / Thursday, 03 September 2020 06:12

Investigators are looking for billions of dollars in missing or stolen funds from a Nigerian agency created to develop the oil-rich but impoverished Niger delta.

Like the rest of the nation's opaque oil sector, officials say the Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC), based in the southern oil city of Port Harcourt, has been a pit of corruption and mismanagement since its establishment 20 years ago.

Nine states in the oil region rake in trillions of naira (billions of dollars) every year thanks to huge payments mandated from the central government and oil majors. 

To date, over 12,000 projects have been approved for the commission, but only a fraction have been executed, a recent parliamentary probe revealed.

This year alone, more than 81 billion naira ($215 million, 180 million euros) have been allegedly misappropriated by officials and contractors, with some believed to have been spent on international flights and training while the nation's airspace was shut due to the coronavirus pandemic.

Last month, the government approved auditors led by Ernst & Young to examine the finances of the agency.

Godswill Akpabio, the minister for Niger Delta Affairs, said the appointment of a team of auditors followed a probe ordered by President Muhammadu Buhari in October.

Akpabio, himself under parliamentary scrutiny for alleged graft, said the auditors would examine projects approved by the NDDC over the last 19 years.

“Through this exercise, we will know the amount of monies that have gone into the region in the last 19 years and whether the value we have received so far are commensurate with the monies that have entered into NDDC,” he said.

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