The Senate has demanded comprehensive auditing of accounts of Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC), the Nigerian Ports Authority (NPA), and the Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Authority (NIMASA) among others.
The upper chamber advised the Acting Auditor-General of the Federation (AuGF), Adolphus Aghughuu, to focus more on auditing accounts of big revenue agencies instead of chasing small ones that could not give bribe.
The upper chamber said events over the year showed that the AuGF had concentrated on low revenue agencies and neglected agencies.
The Chairman, Senate Public Affairs Committee, Senator Mathew Urhoghide, spoke on Monday while commenting on the 2021 budget defense of the Office of the Auditor-General for the Federation (OAuGF).
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 to 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.”
Urhoghide said his committee would carry out further works on what the AuGF was doing regarding the Bureau of Public Procurement (BPP).
He said, “We are doing status inquiries on the Bureau of Public Procurement based on the Auditor General 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.
“We want to see everything they have been collecting and how they’re spending it.
“We have asked the secretariat to write to 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.”
The Edo federal lawmaker pointed out that the negligence of the AuGF was giving room for corruption. He said the efficiency of the auditors could prevent corruption instead of waiting for them to occur before acting.
He said, “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 a 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 considerable sums to fight corruption.
“It is because the auditors allows it. You are part of the cause of corruption in Nigeria.”
Urhoghide told the AuGF to guard against internal wrangling and tribal conflict that could affect the operations of the agency.
He added that there was no law that stated that the office could not be advertised for external application.
“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,” he said.