How Auditor-General’s absence affected audit of MDAs for 3 years


The failure of the federal government to appoint a substantive Auditor-General for the Federation (AuGF) is hurting Nigeria’s efforts in auditing ministries, departments and agencies of government, findings have shown.

This has also, to a greater extent, grounded operations of the public accounts of both chambers of the National Assembly.

This is because the reports of the AuGF, which form the bulk of the job of the committees, have not been filed for three consecutive years: 2020, 2021 and 2022.

The development has also made it impossible for the government to know the true state of public finances in the various MDAs.

Checks showed that the position of Auditor-General for the Federation became vacant on September 7, 2022 after the retirement of the then substantive AuGF, Aghughu Adolphus.

Before then, an internal advertisement by the Federal Civil Service Commission dated 11th of August 2022, with the number FCSC/PS/31/VOL.II/239, called for applications from suitable candidates to occupy the position of the Auditor-General.

The letter, titled ‘Internal advertisement: Appointment of Auditor-General for the Federation’ reads: “The Auditor-General for the Federation (AuGF) is the Chief Executive Officer of the Federal Government Audit.

For this key position, the Commission seeks a candidate with vision, good managerial ability, professional competence, discipline, integrity and transparency in public life.

The candidate should be able to provide the government and the Nigerian people with appropriate advice and support for transparency and accountability in government’s financial transactions.

The AUGF is responsible for the audit of accounts of all accounting officers and all persons entrusted with the collection, receipt, custody and issuance or payment of public monies, stores or other properties of the Government of the Federation and for the certification of the annual accounts of the federal government.

“The Auditor-General for the Federation, in the performance of the duties of the office, shall examine in such a manner as deemed fit the accounts relating to public funds,” the letter said.

However, after the examinations and other processes for a new AuGF, nothing has been heard.

Subsequently, a letter with the number FCSC/PS/31/VOL.II/287 dated 7th of September, 2022 addressed to the Auditor-General’s Office by the Permanent Secretary of the Federal Civil Service Commission, announced Adolphus’ retirement.No Auditor-Generals’ report for 3yrs.

It was gathered that for three years and still running, the National Assembly Committees on Public Accounts have not received an Auditor-General’s report.

The years under review are 2020, 2021 and 2022; a development, which is making the job of the current committees difficult.

The audit reports usually form the bulk of the committees’ work for oversight functions and investigations into the activities of MDAs.

The 2021 Ethics and Integrity Compliance Scorecard compiled by the Independent Corrupt Practices and Other Related Offences Commission had revealed that 137 MDAs did not submit their audited accounts to the Office of the Auditor-General in the last three years.

The assessment further stated that 174 MDAs did not comply with the Public Procurement Act (PPA) 2007.

The same defect was noticed in 88 MDAs where tender board composition was in contravention of the PPA 2007. “This promoted procurement and due process abuse and fraud,” it said.

“196 MDAs did not have a training plan and 171 MDAs did not support ethics and compliance initiatives,” it stated.

“Though personnel of these agencies are regularly exiting the system through retirements, resignations, terminations, dismissals, deaths, etc., yet the number of personnel keeps rising and the wage bill keeps increasing,” the report said.

In section 86 of the 1999 Constitution as amended, the law states that no individual shall act as Auditor-General for the Federation for more than six months.

Part 1 of the section reads “The Auditor-General for the Federation shall be appointed by the president on the recommendation of the Federal Civil Service Commission subject to confirmation by the Senate.

The power to appoint persons to act in the office of the Auditor-General shall vest in the president.

“Except with the sanction of a resolution of the Senate, no person shall act in the office of the Auditor-General for a period exceeding six months.”

With the provisional requirement of the law, it is concluded that the Overseeing Auditor General, Mr Onwudili is not expected to occupy office as he has exceeded the six-month requirement by law.

Daily Trust