The Federal Government has crippled the Auditor-General for the Federation to pave way for corruption in the ministries, departments and agencies (MDAs), senators have said.
Senators unanimously took this position yesterday while lending their voices to a bill for an Act to alter the 1999 Constitution to Place the Office of the Auditor-General for the Federation on the First Line Charge of the Consolidated Revenue Fund and to Empower the Auditor-General for the Federation and the Auditors-General of State Governments to Audit the Accounts of Statutory Corporations, Commissions, Authorities, Agencies in Nigeria and for Related Matters 2013.
The bill, sponsored by the chairman of the Senate Committee on Public Accounts, Senator Ahmed Lawan (ANPP, Yobe North), passed second reading.
It seeks to, among other things, ensure the financial autonomy, timely release of funds and enhanced funding for the office of the Auditor-General at the federal and state levels; and empower the office to directly audit the accounts of statutory corporations, commissions, authorities and agencies of the federal state governments.
In his lead debate, Ahmed said Nigeria could not win the war against corruption without a proper audit system. He said “the inability of the Auditor-General to directly audit the accounts of statutory corporations, commissions, authorities and agencies evidently means that the finances of a multi-billion dollar corporation such as the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) and its subsidiaries cannot be directly examined by the Auditor-General for the Federation and the implication of this has been elucidated in the recent subsidy imbroglio that engulfed the Federal Republic of Nigeria.”
He said corruptions cases “could have been easily detected and nipped in the bud through audit if the office of the Auditor-General had been adequately funded and given powers for direct audit.”