Michael Eboh, Fortune Eromosele and Alice Ekpang
President Muhammadu Buhari on Tuesday queried the audit reports produced by the various states in the country, saying reports given by many state governments are not in tandem with happenings in the states.
Buhari, who spoke at the second edition of the conference of auditors-general in Nigeria held in Abuja, said the fight against corruption cannot be won until all tiers of government and indeed the generality of Nigerians are determined to join the fight against corruption.
He stated there are significant cases of misappropriation across most of the states and described as bizarre, the clean audit report given to the financial statements submitted by the states.
He argued that with the reports churned out from the states, one can assume that there was collusion among the state actors and the auditors.
According to him, the government’s expectation for the future was to see audits conducted at all tiers of government with more impactful findings.
He said: “I am aware there is already a programme under World Bank assistance to help all State Audit Offices in this regard.
“To emphasize the issue of quality in audit, I ask you to reflect on the following: Has any annual financial statements produced by any of the states received anything other than a clean audit opinion as far back as you can remember?
“You will admit this is strange, in view of the significant cases of misappropriation that have been uncovered, the huge balances that have been recovered and the sentences being served by convicted officials including past state governors.
“One can either assume the audits are not thoroughly done, the auditors have been compromised, or the auditors are constrained in some way or other.”