Home Economy 2019 Audit Report uncovers N4.973trn hole in FG finances—AGF

2019 Audit Report uncovers N4.973trn hole in FG finances—AGF

by Business News Report

National Assembly has said that there was a hole in federal finances as unsubstantiated balances amounting to N4.973trillion was observed by the Office of the Auditor General for the Federation in the audit carried out on consolidated financial statement of the Federal Government of Nigeria in 2019. Speaking in Abuja  while submitting the 2019 Audit report to the Clerk of the National Assembly ( CNA), Ojo Amos Olatunde, the  Auditor General for the Federation, Adolphus Aghughu  lamented that his office is incapacitated in so many ways from functioning effectively and efficiently as far as detection of mismanagement of public funds by the various Ministries, Departments and Agencies ( MDAs)  of the federal government is concerned and invariably, potent war against corruption.

He said  “From the audit carried out on the 2019 Federal Government Consolidated Financial Statement, unsubstantiated balances amounting to N4.973trillion were observed. The N4.973trillion unsubstantiated balances are above the materiality level of N89.34billion set for the Audit.” In auditing , materiality means not just a quantified amount,  but the effect that amount will have in various contexts. During the auditing planning process , the auditor decides what the level of materiality will be , taking into account, the entirety of the financial statements to be audited. Consequently as submitted by the Auditor – General , required queries were issued against agencies found to be involved in the infractions.”

Adolphus Aghughu told the CNA who was represented by his Deputy, Barrister Bala Yabani that auditing of consolidated financial statement of the Federal Government on yearly basis, will be expeditiously carried out as made available by the office of the Accountant General of the Federation. He said, ” You will recall that on the 25th of March this year , Audit of Consolidated Financial Statement of the Federal Government for the 2018 was submitted to this office for the required investigation of queries raised in it by the National Assembly. Just five months after, we are here again to make submission of the 2019 Audit Report.” The Auditor- General lamented that his office is not working the way it should  due to myriad of factors crippling its operations and invariably giving room for all forms of financial infractions across the various MDAs, said, “one of such problems is the absence of Federal Audit Service Law which is a big challenge as far as effective and efficient public sector auditing are concerned.

“This is a law that is needed as basis of fiscal sustainability .Absence of it at the federal level is very worrisome going by the fact that some of the states of the Federation have the required law in place. Another problem incapacitating optimal functionality of our mandate as far as thorough and appropriate  auditing of financial statements of the MDAs are concerned  is gross underfunding which is telling much on our efficiency. For example , the office is understaffed but there is no money for recruitment.Imagine many  of our state offices , having just two or three staff Auditing is done by a team not by an individual. Accommodation is also part of the problem , as our staff in Lagos are about to be evicted from their office due to litigations. These are aside problem of insecurity , seriously affecting our scope of coverage.”

In his remarks after receiving the report , the Deputy Clerk to the National Assembly ( DCNA) , Barrister Bala  Yabani  promised that the report presented will be submitted to the Clerk for onward submission to both the President of the Senate, Ahmad Lawan and Speaker of the House of Representatives, Hon Femi Gbajabiamila for the required legislative consideration. The CNA  who noted that all the complaints made by the AGF will be tabled before the Leadership of the National Assembly for required actions and solutions, said, ” Your complaints are very germane . They will surely be conveyed to the appropriate quarters that  will surely do the needful on them because the people heading the quarters have listening ears.”

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