17 October 2011, Sweetcrude, Abuja—The Auditor General of Nigeria, Samuel Orkura, weekend, raised alarm over the refusal of some government agencies and parastatals to submit their audited accounts to his office in accordance with the provisions of the constitution.
Appearing before the House Committee on Public Accounts at the weekend, the Auditor General named the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) as one of the agencies that have not had their accounts audited since inception.
The auditor general, who equally named the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) as one of the affected agencies however blamed the Nigerian National Assembly for not acting on the audited accounts of the federation submitted to it since 1999.
According to the Auditor General, revenue generating agencies are the most culpable in this regard as the country’s treasury might suffer due to the failure of revenue generation agencies to remit what they generated to the federation accounts.
“Most of the time, those we audit do not take us seriously; they tell us to our faces that our report won’t change things; that we may go ahead to write whatever report we can write about them but it would not affect them because the National Assembly has not been acting on audit reports.
“The problem is further compounded by the fact that we have no powers to sanction those agencies who fail to transmit their audit reports to us,” he said.
But the chairman of the House committee on Public Accounts, Hon. Solomon Adeola, said that the committee would no longer tolerate lukewarm attitudes to auditing by both officials in the office of the Auditor-General and the MDAs.
“The Auditor-General has no excuse for failing to properly audit the accounts of Ministries and Agencies of government because the constitution has sufficiently empowered him to carry out such responsibilities. If you carry out your duties very well, we may not even have needed to establish all these anti-graft agencies,” he warned.
In his testimony, the Accountant General of the Federation, Joseph Ogunniyi Otunla, noted that, “Those agencies being funded by government could be sanctioned for not submitting the records of their expenditure because we can simply refuse to release their allocations to them until they comply; but those agencies not funded by government cannot be sanctioned by us at all.”
Other agencies whose accounts have not been audited since inception are the National Environmental Standards and Regulations Enforcement Agency (NESREA) and Abuja Environmental Protection Board, among others.