By Henry Umoru
ABUJA- THE Senate has disclosed that it was yet to receive the audited report of any federal establishment for 2017 from the office of the Auditor-General for the Federation, just as it said that the last audit report it received this year was for 2016.
According to the Senate, the refusal by government Ministries, Agencies and parastatals to forward their audited reports has contravened Section 85 of the 1999 constitution, even as it reiterated that some of these agencies, since they were established, have never had their accounts audited, adding that some of the backlogs range from fifteen to twenty years.
The Senate has, however, given a two- week ultimatum to the office of the Auditor General for the Federation to get the audited reports of the State House, the office of the Secretary to the Government of the Federation, SGF, the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC, the Central Bank of Nigeria, CBN, the Federal Inland Revenue Service, FIRS, the Nigerian Ports Authority, NPA and the Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency, NIMASA.
Speaking in Abuja when he led members of his Committee on Public Accounts, PAC, on an oversight visit to the Auditor-General for the Federation, Anthony Ayine, Chairman, Senate Committee on Public Accounts, Senator Matthew Urhoghide, PDP, Edo South said that other agencies of government like the Army, the Police, the Independent National Electoral Commission, the Navy, the Airforce, among others should submit their audited reports to the office of the Auditor- General.
According to Urhoghide, the Senate has also mandated the Auditor-General to carry out a holistic auditing of the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation, NNPC in the last five years.
Meanwhile, Ayine, who pleaded with the Senate to help in the amendment of the enabling laws especially section 85(3) to enable the agency bite, said, “As long as that sub section remain there, it is very clear Auditor General cannot audit the parastatals because it is restricted by the Constitution.”
Speaking to Journalists after the meeting, Senator Urhoghide said, “as a routine activities of the Senate Committee on Public Account, we came here to interface with the Auditor General’s office and you know it by our rules, this is the only Office that this Committee oversights.
“This is the first time of coming here, to know how the operations are and what is going on, particularly in respect to the presentation of the audited report from his office.
“The last time we got the report was in 2016 and then of course, the Senate Committee is looking at the report given to it by the Senate which was submitted by the Auditor General to the National Assembly. The 2017 is not ready and we are getting to the end of 2018, we have equally come to ask him why the 2017 report is not ready.
He has just told us that the Constitution, Section 85 of the Constitution provides that the Auditor General should submit within 90 days the statement of Accountant General of the Federation to the Auditor General and as of 2017, we had expected that by March this year, the Auditor General should have submitted that report to the Auditor General office, so we don’t have the report of the 2017 yet, because the Auditor General did not submit the report.”