N10.6bn Audit Query: National Assembly Debunks AGF’s Claim | Independent Newspapers Limited
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N10.6bn Audit Query: National Assembly Debunks AGF’s Claim

Posted: Mar 18, 2016 at 1:00 am   /   by   /   comments (0)

The National Assembly (NASS) on Thursday said that it had since September 29, 2015 submitted relevant documents in response to the queries raised by the office of the Auditor General of the Federation (oAGF) on the N10.6 billion.

The NASS made the clarification in a report addressed to the Auditor General of the Federation, Samuel Ukura.

The oAGF had in the 2014 Audit report submitted to Salisu Maikasuwa, Clerk of the National Assembly (CNA), last Monday, alleged that the National Assembly bureaucracy did not retire N1,162,009,305 granted to 112 staff from recurrent votes and 50 staff from General Service Vote from July to December 2014 for various purposes.

The report also alleged that additional N9,514,568,222.62 payments were made without raising payment vouchers at the management department which violates financial regulation 601.

Hon. Kehinde Odeneye (APC-Ogun), member of the House Committee on Public Accounts between 2011 till date, said the audit report “is not an indictment to the extent that they stole but that they did not respond on time to the Auditor General’s queries.”

He, however, noted that the recent bill which seeks to grant the office of the Auditor General of the Federation the financial autonomy and first line charge, was to cure the “systematic problem which made Ministries, Departments and Agencies (MDAs) to ignore the office of the Auditor General.”

A top management of the National Assembly who is privy to the AGF operations, however, described the AGF’s annual audit report as a working document for the Public Accounts Committees of the Senate and House of Representatives which would in turn invite all the parties concerned.

He, however, expressed concern about the inability of the AGF to list the State House and other MDAs which expend billions of tax payers money on food items/Kitchen utensils.

“Do you know that several overheads of the MDAs which have about 150 staff get several billions of naira as annual budgetary allocation while the National Assembly, National Assembly Commission, National Institute of Legislative Studies, Public Complaints Commission only get N115 billion, with over 10,000 workers, yet no one bothered to query the expenditure of the MDAs,” he said.

He explained that it was customary for the AGF to raise queries and observations on issues while scrutinising the financial records of public institutions including the Legislature.

He said the oAGF officials acknowledged receipt of documents in relation to the same report being brandished without informing the public that it is not an indicting report.

“With what is obtainable currently, it looks like someone is failing in his duties and hiding under the guise of exposing corruption. Rather than portraying this institution in bad light, all those responsible for the audit should be guided in discharging their responsibilities,” he stated.

The source who said that the queries were answered promptly explained that the documents required by the oAGF were bulky, and since there were officers assigned to do the work, they should be diligent enough to have first hand information by sighting the documents.

“I think we have done our best in this regard; we have cleared all the grey areas as contained in the acknowledged report dated 29th September 2015. The onus is on the AGF to prove otherwise,” he stated.

One of the staff of the Auditor General’s office who did not want his name in print said tasked the media and Nigerians not to misconstrue the queries as indictment, as the responses of the National Assembly and various MDAs would be reflected in the AGF reports for subsequent year.

The source disclosed that the Auditor General of the Federation is out of the country for an official assignment and would return next week.

The National Assembly’s response was coming few hours after the management of Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) also refuted claims of owing N3.2 trillion by the AGF..

However, Mr. Isiaka Abdulrazaq, NNPC’s Group Executive Director/Chief Financial Officer, Finance and Accounts, in a statement, admitted owing Federation Account N326 billion.