Senate Urged to Pass Audit Bill

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Obinna Chima

Members of the Senate have been advised to ensure the passage into law, the Audit Bill 2014.

THISDAY learnt that the lawmakers are expected to deliberate on the bill this week. The bill seeks to repeal the Audit Ordinance Act of 1956 and the Public Accounts Committee Act 1990. If passed into law, the bill would also lead to the detachment of the Office of the Accountant General of the Federation (OAGF) from the presidency and establish an Audit Service Commission.

Towards the end of the immediate past administration, the House of Representative had passed the bill and is now with the Senate for concurrent. The same bill was passed by both chambers during the 7th Assembly. Two of the members of the 7th Assembly who sponsored the bill are still in the Senate.

Senator Lawal Ahmed was the chairman of the public account committee of the Senate who sponsored it is still there. Senator Solomon Adeola was Public Account Chairman of the House (PAC), and was the sponsor. He is now a senator.

“Some interest groups within and outside the office of the auditor general are now going round to contacting the Senators not to allow the bill to pass or for hearing at all. This bill was passed by both Chambers as sent to Mr. President for his assent along with the 40 others, which Mr. President did not assent to any.

“The bill will strengthen the office in order to fight corruption. All countries in the world have audit laws except Nigeria. No wonder the high level of corruption.  The first act was passed in 1956 over 60 years. So many changes have taken place in the world. One therefore wonders what the Office has been doing. From 1999 so many bills have been passed why not the audit bill?

It pointed out that President Muhammadu Buhari is widely known as an anti-corruption crusader and must be supported by all Nigerians, adding that one area to fight corruption would be through the speedy passage of the Audit Bill so that government can function effectively.

Furthermore, it stated that the bill if passed into law will promote transparency and sanity in a lot of institutions and promote good governance.

Part of the bill also states: “The National Assembly to appoint independent auditor to audit financial statements of the Office of the Auditor General of the Federation. The National Assembly would be appointing the independent auditor to audit the accounts of the Audit Service Commission.”