By Deji Elumoye
The Senate has directed the Acting Auditor General of the Federation, Mr. Adolphus Aghughu, to investigate the financial transactions of big revenue generating agencies like Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC), Nigeria Ports Authority (NPA) and the Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Authority (NIMASA) from 2015 to date.
The upper legislative chamber asked the AuGF to focus more on the financial transactions of big revenue generation agencies instead of beaming searchlight only on smaller federal agencies.
Chairman of the Senate committee on Public Accounts, Senator Mathew Urhoghide, gave the charge yesterday while commenting on the 2021 budget defence of the Office of the Auditor General for the Federation.
He specifically urged the AuGF to ensure a holistic and comprehensive auditing of the accounts of the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation, the Nigerian Ports Authority and the Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Authority, among others.
He said: “You claim that you are auditing the account of the federation and you won’t touch the accounts of the NNPC, NPA, NIMASA among others. You will remove all the big spenders from your watch list but you will focus on smaller agencies. That is what has been happening from 2015 till date.
“We don’t want to be seeing these smaller agencies of government that you are focusing on because they can’t settle well. We are tired of seeing audit queries involving municipal councils leaving behind the big agencies.”
The ranking Senator said his committee would carry out further works on what the AuGF was doing regarding the Bureau of Public Procurement (BPE) saying “we are doing status enquiries on the Bureau of Public Procurement based on the Auditor General’s report.
“We want to expand the scope. We want to look at their revenue and expenditure profile. We will look at the budget, particularly the Internally Generated Revenue (IGR). We want to see everything they have been collecting and how they’re spending it.
“We have asked the secretariat to write them and invite them. The indictment of the Auditor General is correct. They could not even defend the queries issued against them by the Auditor General.”
Urhoghide also asked the AuGF to be proactive instead of waiting for corrupt activities to occur before taking action.
According to him, “Your negligence has led to the institution of corruption. Why should you wait for corruption to be consummated in Nigeria before you act? You should undertake performance audit at every stage of construction.
“You shouldn’t wait till the project is completed before raising the alarm and allow EFCC to step in and collect huge sums to fight corruption.
It is because the auditors allows it. You are part of the cause of corruption in Nigeria.”
He warned the AuGF to shun internal wrangling and tribal conflict that could affect their operations negatively.
While threatening that the Senate might not hesitate to advertise the office of the AuGF if the internal hostilities continue, Urhoghide said “the infighting among you must stop, there is no regulation that says that an external person cannot be Auditor General.
“The office of the Auditor General is not a progressive union affair. That position can be advertised. People can apply from within or outside and we could employ anybody from the office or outside the office.”