BUSINESS AND ECONOMY

N4.973trn missing from Federation Account – Auditor General

The Office of the Auditor General of the Federation (OAuGF) on Wednesday disclosed that N4.973trillion was missing in the 2019 consolidated financial statement of the federal government.

Presenting copies of the 2019 Financial Report of Ministries, Departments and Agencies (MDAs) of government to the Clerk of the National Assembly, Ojo Amos Olatunde in Abuja, the Auditor General of the Federation (AGF), Adolphus Aghughu, lamented that the AGF is handicapped to effectively carry out its functions.

He said that the limitation faced by the AGF has hampered it from detecting public funds mismanagement by MDAs, thereby affecting the government’s anti-corruption campaign.

Aghughu said, “From the audit carried out on the 2019 Federal Government Consolidated Financial Statement, unsubstantiated balances amounting to N4.973trillion were observed.

“The N4.973trillion unsubstantiated balances are above the materiality level of N89.34billion set for the Audit.”

Explaining reasons for the various discrepancies, the AGF revealed that required queries were issued against agencies involved in the infractions, adding that auditing the consolidated financial statement of the Federal Government on yearly basis will be expeditiously carried out as made available by the office of the Accountant General of the Federation.

“You will recall that on the 25th of March this year, Audit of Consolidated Financial Statement of the Federal Government for 2018 was submitted to this office for the required investigation of queries raised in it by the National Assembly.

“Just five months after, we are here again to make submission of the 2019 Audit Report.”

Decrying the absence of Federal Audit Service Law as “a big challenge as far as effective and efficient public sector auditing are concerned,” the AGF noted that the law “is needed as the basis of fiscal sustainability. The absence of it at the federal level is very worrisome going by the fact that some of the states of the Federation have the required law in place.

“Another problem incapacitating optimal functionality of our mandate as far as thorough and appropriate auditing of financial statements of the MDAs are concerned is gross underfunding which is telling much on our efficiency.

“For example, the office is understaffed but there is no money for recruitment.

“Imagine many of our state offices, having just two or three staff. Auditing is done by a team not by an individual.

“Accommodation is also part of the problem, as our staff in Lagos are about to be evicted from their office due to litigations.

“These are aside from the problem of insecurity, seriously affecting our scope of coverage “, he regretted.

The Deputy Clerk to the National Assembly (DCNA), Barrister Bala Yabani, confirmed that the report presented will be forwarded to the Clerk for onward submission to the President of the Senate, Ahmad Lawan and Speaker of the House of Representatives, Femi Gbajabiamila for necessary legislative consideration.

He added that all the complaints made by the AGF will be forwarded to the Leadership of the National Assembly for required actions and solutions.

“Your complaints are very germane. They will surely be conveyed to the appropriate quarters that will surely do the needful on them because the people heading the quarters have listening ears,” he added.

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