19 January 2018

Nigeria: Presidency's Accounts Not Audited for 10 Years, Senate Reveals

Abuja — The Senate revealed yesterday that the presidency failed to make its accounts available for auditing in the last ten years.

It also said that accounts of most of the over 650 Federal Government agencies were not audited for the same period.

The revelations were made at a meeting between the Senate Committee on Public Accounts and the Auditor-General of the Federation, Anthony Ayine, at the National Assembly complex.

According to the committee, the non-auditing of accounts, coupled with inadequate funding, is a travesty of the war against corruption.

The Senate panel's position was sequel to revelations made to that effect by Ayine during 2018 budget defence session with the lawmakers.

The chairman of the committee, Mathew Urhoghide (PDP Edo South) lamented that based on the submissions made by the auditor general, the war against corruption in the country is compromised by sabotage within.

"This practice, no doubt, will not allow Nigeria and Nigerians know where leakages are taking place and, by extension, making mockery of the war against corruption," he said.

He added that it was unfortunate that a country supposedly fighting corruption was undermining in all ways the functionality of the office of the auditor general by giving it ridiculous budgetary allocations on yearly basis and denying it vital audited reports.

Urhoghide said: "How could a country fighting corruption have budgeted N3billion for the Office of the Auditor General of the Federation in a year out of which less than 50 percent was released, while N6billion and N4billion were given to the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) and Independent and Corrupt Practices (ICPC).

"Imagine, in the overhead component votes for the office in 2017, out of N234million budgeted for auditing assignments across the country, only N101million was released and yet results are being expected."

The committee said the development would no longer be acceptable, "because the office is not just meant to audit account but also ensure value for money on projects executed by the Ministries, Department and Agencies (MDAs)."

Meanwhile, the Senate has shifted for two weeks the national security summit earlier scheduled to take place next Wednesday and Thursday.

The upper chamber had after intense debate on issues regarding the worsening security situation in the country resolved on Wednesday to hold a national summit in Abuja with various stakeholders to fashion out lasting solutions to the insecurity. The decision was prompted by the recent killings in Benue, Adamawa, Taraba, and Kaduna states.

But realising that the date was fixed in a hurry, and that it would not be feasible to organise a result-oriented national security summit within the short time frame, the chamber decided to postpone the event.

The postponement followed a point of order raised by the Leader of the Senate, Ahmad Lawan, who appealed to his colleagues to suspend relevant sections of the standing rules and rescind their earlier resolution on the mater, and then allow for extension of time.

Also yesterday, former All Progressives Grand Alliance (APGA) national chairman, Victor Umeh, was sworn in by Senate President Bukola Saraki to represent Anambra central senatorial district, which had been without representation in the chamber in the last two years.

Swiftly, Umeh called on President Muhammadu Buhari to begin implementation of the report of the 2014 national conference.

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