19 January 2018

Nigeria: Presidency, Other Federal Agencies Yet to Submit Audited Accounts - Senate

A senator has expressed disappointment at how the Presidency and many agencies have repeatedly failed to submit their audited accounts for vetting by the Auditor-General as required by law.

The chairman, Senate Committee on Public Accounts, Matthew Urhoghide (PDP, Edo) expressed his dismay while speaking to journalists at the National Assembly where he also blamed federal legislators for not helping the situation over the years.

According to him, "the whole essence of the Auditor-General office is to ensure sanity, accountability and transparency in the use of public funds.

"All the leakages and corruption you have been seeing in this country is because the processes and procedures that are supposed to be guided by the National Assembly and the Auditor General office have not been observed, we really have not been getting these things going. That is why you see the large-scale corruption in this country," he said.

While noting that the Executive as well as the National Assembly have a huge role to play in the fight against corruption, Mr. Urhogide regretted that not much has been achieved in that regard.

He further explained that there was not much the Auditor-General could do to improve the situation because his office has been "designed to fail" due to low budgetary allocation compounded by poor budgetary release.

"The Auditor-General office needs to be strengthened. As of today, the Auditor-General office is designed to fail; it cannot carry out its statutory function of auditing accounts and making sure that all leakages and corruption are blocked."

He accused the Presidency of undermining the Office of the Auditor-General of the Federation through deliberate under-funding.

On the part of the National Assembly, Mr. Urhoghide revealed that there is an Audit Bill before the Senate that will empower the Auditor-General to effectively perform his duties of ensuring probity and accountability in governance, which he noted will do more to fight corruption than the EFFC and ICPC.

He therefore called on the President to give "proper allocation" to the Auditor-General's Office and also swiftly sign the Audit Bill when passed by the National Assembly.


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