The House of Representatives says it will “name and shame” Ministries, Departments and Agencies (MDAs) that refuse to appear before it with their audited reports.
The Chairman, Committee on Public Accounts, Rep. Wole Oke, disclosed this during an investigative public hearing into the presentation of audit reports of MDAs on Monday.
The committee is investigating the “allegations of deliberate and reckless refusal by non-treasury funded MDAs to render accounts to the Office of the Accountant-General to the Federation (OAGF)”.
Oke said the investigation was necessary following the reports of the growing number of MDAs that refused to submit their Reports to the OAGF.
He said the investigation was in line with the constitutional responsibility of the house to oversight MDAs and allowed for stakeholders to exercise their constitutional rights of fair hearing.
The committee chairman said that the action by the committee was not intended to usurp the functions of the OAGF.
“Any agency that is invited and refused to show up, we will name and shame such MDAs. It shows that you are hiding something.
“We are only asking you, ‘bring your audited accounts’. If you have submitted to the auditor-general, show us proof; we are only saying based on the records that we have, so many agencies have refused to comply with the provision of the Constitution and relevant statutes.
“It is through these kinds of engagements that we can formulate policies, make new laws or amend the existing ones which are difficult to obey.”
The committee agreed that only the managing directors, chief executive officers or the directors of accounts of the various institutions present at the hearing could present the reports.
“Mr President can only give you a job but he cannot do the job for you. If we like to be MDs or CEOs, so why don’t we like to render accounts?
“You can discharge your duties when discharging money when it comes to accountability, you shy away. If the MD of Bank of Industry can be here, Director of DPR can be here, Nigerian Export-Import Bank are here, why won’t others?
“We would name and shame, aside deploy the provisions of the Constitution on warrant of arrest.”
He noted that in 2016, 323 MDAs failed to submit their audited reports to the OAGF compared to 215 unsubmitted reports in 2015; 148 in 2014; 109 in 2013; 85 in 2012; and 76 in 2011.
“Between 2010 and 2015, the Auditor-General’s Reports for these years were lying cold at the NASS without any action.
“In 2016 Auditor-General’s Reports were received in July 2018, after a two-year delay.
“The Reports of 2017 were received by the National Assembly in 2019.
“Despite the fact that we are in 2020, the 2018 and 2019 Reports are yet to be presented to the National Assembly,” he said.
Oke regretted that the statistics were alarming, adding that the committee needed probe into the reason for “this steep drop and outright disregard for the Constitution”.
He reiterated that the 9th Assembly would not be “business as usual”, contrary to some opinions that the National Assembly was “a rubber stamp”.
The public investigative hearing would be held for two weeks with different MDAs appearing before the committee to present their reports.