NNPCâ€™s JV operations last audited report submitted in 2010
Ndubuisi Francis in Abuja
The Auditor-General of the Federation (AuGF), Mr. Anthony Mkpe Ayine, last Thursday submitted the final part of the 2015 audited report of the ministries, departments and agencies (MDAs) of the federal government to the Clerk of the National Assembly, Alhaji Mohammed Sani Omolori, bringing to a closure the almost one-year delay in the submission of the all-important report, THISDAY has learnt.
According to the Financial Regulations (FR) 3210(v), the audited accounts of bodies established by the Acts of Parliament (parastatals) should be submitted by the Accountant-General of the Federation to the Office of the Auditor-General of the Federation (OAuGF) not later than May 31 of the following year.
On receiving the audited accounts, the Auditor-General is required by law (within 90 days) to submit his report on the Accountant-Generalâ€™s financial statements to the National Assembly.
It therefore follows that going by this provision, the Accountant-General should have submitted his 2015 financial statements of the MDAs to the OAuF latest by May 31, 2016, consequent upon which the latter would have prepared his report and submitted to the parliament not later than August 2016 (the 90 days prescribed by law).
However, THISDAY investigations revealed that rather than submit the complete volume of the audited report, which incorporates the accounts of the MDAs for the year ended December 31, 2015, the Accountant-General of the Federation, Alhaji Ahmed Idris decided to submit it piecemeal (in two parts).
THISDAY gathered that Part 1 which Ahmed submitted to the former acting Auditor-General of the Federation, Mrs. Florence Anyanwu was submitted by her to the National Assembly on December 2, 2016.
Although THISDAY could not unveil the details of what Part 1 of the audit contained, some of the highlights included comments on losses of cash and stores, and observations made on the accounting records of the ministries, departments and extra-ministerial offices.
Submitting the second part of the 2015 audited report to the Clerk of the National Assembly last week, Alhaji Mohammed Sani Omolori, the AUGF who assumed duty in March this year blamed the delay on the Accountant-General, Alhaji Ahmed Idris.
THISDAY obtained a copy of Ayineâ€™s speech, which he read while handing over the report to the National Assembly, wherein he squarely blamed Idris for the delay.
His had said: â€œThe delay in the submission of Part II was due to delays in the preparation and submission of financial statements to my office by the Accountant-General of the Federation.
â€œIn accordance with the provisions of Finance (Control and Management) Act, Cap 144 LFN 1990, the Accountant-General of the Federation has responsibility for the preparation and submission of the Financial Statements on April 24, 2017.
â€œI am required by law, within 90 days, to submit my report on the audit of the Accountant-Generalâ€™s financial statements to the National Assembly.
â€œConsequently, I have examined the accounts of the federal government for the year ended 31st December 2015 in accordance with Section 85(2) and (5) of the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, 1999 (as amended).â€
Ayine further disclosed that Part II of the annual report of the Auditor-General of the Federation on the financial statements of the federal government for the year ended December 31, 2015, is divided into four main sections.
They include introduction, comments on the annual financial statements, the federation accounts and the reproduced Accountant-Generalâ€™s annual financial statements.
He expressed delight over the renewed efforts by the Public Accounts Committees (PACs) of both chambers of the National Assembly on the speedy consideration of Auditor-Generalâ€™s annual reports.
He also expressed hope that all outstanding audit reports before the National Assembly, up to the 2015 financial year, will be speedily considered.
â€œIt is also paramount that the concluded recommendations of the Public Accounts Committees be laid before the Senate and the House of Representatives for consideration.
â€œThis legislative consideration of PACsâ€™ recommendations and onward transmission to the executive arm of government for implementation will make the accountability process meaningful and complete,â€ the AuGF had said.
Efforts to get the reaction of the Accountant-General of the Federation to react to the disclosure that he was responsible for the delay in submitting the 2015 audited report of the federal government, were futile.
The Director, Public Affairs, Office of the Accountant-General of the Federation, Mrs. Kene Offie neither responded to calls nor to a text message sent to her phone.
In a related development, the AuGF has harped on the need for transparency in the efforts for the advancement of a better Nigeria.
He said it was worrisome that the last audited annual financial statements or accounts of the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporationâ€™s (NNPC) joint venture operations submitted to his office was that of the financial year ended December 31, 2010.
Ayine stated this when he visited the Minister of State for Petroleum Resources, Dr. Ibe Kachikwu.
According to a statement from the Deputy Director, OAuGF, Mrs. Olawunmi Ogumishile, the Auditor-General stressed the necessity for the staff of the OAuGF to have access to documents of NNPCâ€™s joint venture operations, as well as carrying out checks on the liquefied natural gas (LNG) companies.
This, he noted, was necessary for the purpose of transparency, accountability and in the national interest.
In his response, Kachikwu assured the Auditor-General that when the ministry undertakes the audit of its joint ventures and companies, the OAuGF would be involved, even as he assured that representatives of OAuGF would be given unfettered access to all the documents required to carry out their audit.
The OAuGF is statutorily saddled with the task of scrutinising the books and auditing the accounts of the over 900 federal MDAs.
The OAuGF is a separate and independent entity whose existence, powers, duties and responsibilities are provided for under Section 85 of the constitution.