The Senate committee on public accounts has queried the absence of a substantive Auditor-General of the Federation (AuGF) in the last few years.
Ahmed Wadada, the chairman of the committee (SDP-Nasarawa State) made this known during the committee’s inaugural meeting held on Friday.
While stating the effort so far made to ensure that a substantive auditor-general of the Federation is in place, Wadada said that the acting auditor-general of the federation, who is a director in the office had been invited by the committee.
Wadada said, “On assumption of office as chairman, I directed the clerk of the committee to invite the acting auditor-general of the federation and the executive secretary of NEITI.
“On the arrival of the auditor-general of the federation, I got to understand that he was not even the acting auditor-general of the federation but a director in charge, which of course, clearly shows that Nigeria does not have an auditor-general.
“That is why the auditor-general’s report for 2020, at the moment, is ready but he cannot append his signature on it because he is not a substantive auditor-general, neither a fully, formal acting auditor-general.”
Wadada explained that the situation made him write to the president earlier to inform him about the challenge at hand, adding that unless that was resolved, they may not be able to go beyond considering the 2019 auditor-general’s report.
“If we cannot go beyond this, that means that the committee will be handicapped to really discharge or achieve the set objectives which is fundamentally about ensuring accountability and transparency,” he said.
He further raised concerns as to why the auditor general’s annual reports were sent to the Senate late.
“We have taken the acting auditor-general on this and the key thing he said was that most of the MDAs do not, at various times, present what they should have presented to his office. That is why the reports usually come in arrears.
“As a committee, we shall not entertain that at all,” he said.
Wadada further said that the committee would embark on a status inquiry into the financial operations of various ministries, departments and agencies (MDAs).
This, he said was to ensure accountability and transparency in the management of the public accounts of the federation in compliance with the provisions of the constitution, Senate standing orders and extant laws.
Osita Izunaso (APC-Imo) expressed dismay over the delay in submitting the Auditor-general’s annual report as and when do.
“The auditor-general’s annual report, why it cannot come as and when do is because on the account given to us by the clerk of this committee, the 9th Senate had considered 2016, 2017 and 2018.
“Why is it not coming at the time it is supposed to come? Is there any reason that the auditor-general’s annual report shouldn’t come at the time it’s supposed to come? So why will it be in arrears?” Izunaso asked. NAN