By Emman Ovuakporie & Johnbosco Agbakwuru
ABUJA—THE Auditor General of the Federation, AGF, Samuel Okura, yesterday, said that the office was under-funded by the Ministry of Finance to carry out its functions.
Okura, who disclosed this during the budget defence of N2.986 billion appropriated to the office with the Public Accounts Commission, PAC, against the N5.82 billion it proposed, said with what had been voted to the office, it was difficult for it to do its work well.
He said some people were afraid that if the office had enough funding, it would be able to expose ills in the ministries, departments and agencies.
According to him, staff of the AGF’s office do not have accommodation, which makes them attach with the Ministry of Finance, thereby compromising on their official assignments.
He said of the total of N2.986 billion voted to the office in the 2016 budget, N1.881 billion was for personnel cost, N654 million for overhead, while N450 million was earmarked for capital projects.
Members of PAC, chaired by Ibrahim Baba, frowned on the poor budgetary allocation to the AGF office, noting that the poor funding of the office had made it difficult to tackle corruption in the various government agencies.
The committee advocated that the AGF should be funded through first line charge so that it would be independent and effective in discharging its duties.
They argued that most of the work done by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC, Department of State Service, DSS and the Independent Corrupt Practises Commission, ICPC, should be the responsibility of the Auditor General.
Some of the committee members, who spoke separately at the budget defence of the Auditor General, Ossai Ossai, Wole Oke, Nnanna Igbokwe and others said: “The over-head budget has to be looked into; it would not enhance their efficiency.
“It is our desire to strengthen the institution, that we do not conduct business as usual. I doubt if what they have will be able to check, for example, the Ministry of Power alone.”
Chairman of the Committee, Baba, assured the AGF that “we will try as much as possible to give due legislative consideration to all you have raised.”
Pointing out that they will need more from the office of the AGF in terms of auditing government projects.