Senate: Service Wide Vote Biggest Fraud in Nigeria
- We have no power to audit NNPC, CBN, others, says AuGF
By Deji Elumoye
The Senate yesterday described the service wide vote in the federal budget domiciled in the Federal Ministry of Finance as the biggest fraud in Nigeria.
This is coming as the Acting Auditor General of the Federation, Mr. Adolphus Argungu, disclosed that his office has no constitutional power to audit the account of agencies like the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC), and the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), among others.
Speaking at the confirmation hearing of Acting Auditor-General of Federation, Argungu, the Chairman of the Senate Committee on Public Accounts, Senator Matthew Uhroghide, stressed that service wide fund was the biggest fraud in the country as the annual vote has never been audited.
He stated particularly that in the 2021 budget, the federal government allocated N758 billion for service wide vote.
According to him, “Service wide vote is the biggest fraud in Nigeria. It is meant to meet unseen situation; nobody gives account on service wide vote. Standing Committees of the Senate do not know anything about its spending”.
He specifically said that the Office of Auditor General has been designed to fail because there is no sufficient fund for the office to carry out its task.
Urhoghide submitted that the National Assembly will henceforth ensure that no agency appears for budget defence without responding to issues raised in the annual report of Auditor General of the Federation.
The ranking Senator asked the new AuGF to brief the panel on how he would audit the service wide fund saying “You should tell us how you are going to audit this service Wide Votes.”
In his response, the Acting Auditor General assured the Senators of his readiness to look into the issue of non -Auditing of Service Wide votes.
Speaking on the challenges of the office, he said the workers of the agency are working under tedious condition as there is no enough staff in Auditor General’s office to carry out task of the agency.
He added that in some states, the agency has only three staff on ground and as result of this most of the works expected to be executed are not carried out by the office.
The Nominee solicited for full autonomy for the office of the Auditor General of the Federation so that it can able to carry out its task effectively adding that lack of fund halted efforts of the agency to acquire some software that will aid its work because it was struck out of the budget.
The AuGF also told the committee that his office
lacked the constitutional power to audit the annual accounts of parastatals and agencies like Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC), Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), Nigerian Ports Authority (NPA), NIMASA and other big spenders among the government agencies.