The Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC) says the list of contract beneficiaries released by Godswill Akpabio, minister of Niger Delta affairs, is authentic.
Akpabio had named some federal lawmakers and former governors as beneficiaries of contracts awarded by the commission.
Peter Nwaoboshi, chairman of the senate committee on NDDC; Matthew Urhoghide, chairman of the senate committee on public accounts; and Orji Uzor Kalu, senate whip; are among the lawmakers named as beneficiaries.
James Ibori and Emmanuel Uduaghan, former governors of Delta state, were also listed as beneficiaries.
All of them have denied benefitting from the contracts, accusing Akpabio of tarnishing their reputation.
But in a statement on Tuesday, Charles Odili, NDDC’s director of corporate affairs, said the the list emanated from 8,000 documents handed over to forensic auditors.
“The Interim Management Committee of the commission stands by the list which came from files already in the possession of the forensic auditors,” he said.
“It is not an Akpabio list but the NDDC’s list; the list is part of the volume of 8,000 documents already handed over to the forensic auditors.
“Prominent indigenes of the Niger Delta whose names were on the list should not panic as the commission knew that people used the names of prominent persons in the region to secure contracts, and the ongoing forensic audit would unearth those behind the contracts.
“[The] intention of the list was to expose committee chairmen in the national assembly who used fronts to collect contracts from the commission, some of which were never executed.”
In October, President Muhammadu Buhari ordered a forensic audit into the finances of the NDDC from 2001 to 2019.