The Senate has called on the acting Auditor General of the Federation, Adolphus Aghughu, to carry out a comprehensive auditing of the accounts of the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC), the Nigerian Ports Authority (NPA) and the Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency (NIMASA), among others.
The Chairman, Senate Committee on Public Accounts, Senator Matthew Urhoghide, made the call on Monday during the 2021 budget defence of the Office of the Auditor General for the Federation.
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.”
Urhoghide said his committee would carry out further legislative works on what the Auditor-General was doing regarding the Bureau of Public Procurement (BPP).
He said, “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.
“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 advised the Auditor-General to be “proactive” instead of waiting for corrupt activities to occur before taking action.
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 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 allow it. You are part of the cause of corruption in Nigeria.”
He also told the Auditor-General to shun internal wrangling and tribal conflict that could affect their operations negatively.
“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 added.