Senate Calls For Audit of N758 Billion Service Wide Vote
The Senate through its Committee on Public Accounts noted that the Service Wide Vote meant to cover for shortfalls in capital and recurrent expenditure constitutes the biggest source of fraud in the country; stressing that nobody has been able to give account of the allocation in the National budget since 2015.
The Senate panel led by Senator Matthew Urhogide( PDP Edo South) gave the marching order as it screened the Presidential nominee for the position of Auditor-General of the Federation on Thursday.
This was as the Senate Panel charged the nominee to go after "big spenders" like the Nigerian Port Authority (NPA), Central Bank of Nigeria(CBN), the Armed Forces and the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) and ensure that their financial statements are thoroughly scrutinized.
" How do you make sure that the big spenders like NPA, CBN, Armed Forces , NNPC are made to account for their expenditure"?
The Senate also asked Aghughu who has been in office in acting capacity since October to also conduct performance audit of all Federal government for value for money.
The panel noted that the absence of such audit is why corruption has become endemic with abandoned projects scattered all around the country.
On timely reporting of annual audited reports; the Senate panel noted that delays by the Accountant General to furnish the Auditor-General with financial statements have often slowed down auditing processes.
In the light of this, the Senate panel
said it will push for an amendment of Section 85(7) to compel the Accountant-General of the Federation to submit his financial statement in 90 days to the Office of the Auditor-General.
The Senate Panel further urged the Acting Auditor-General to work closely with the National Assembly as stipulated by the Constitution and avoid exposing his reports to any arm of the executive as that will be a violation of the constitution.
"You do not work with the executive. You work with the National Assembly and must resist attempts to make your report available to any agency of government other than the National Assembly", Urhogide said.
'It will be better you resign instead of thinking to play alone with the crooked system", he added.
Aghughu Adolphus who hails from Edo state is a fellow of chartered Institute of Taxation with 29 years cognitive experience working in the Office of the Auditor-General of the Federation.