Tuesday, August 9, 2022

Corruption: Activist charges Buhari to sign Audit Law

The Audit Law aims at checking the mismanagement of funds by Ministries, Departments and Agencies (MDAs) in the country.

• June 29, 2022
Audit House
Audit House

Segun Elemo, Director of Paradigm Leadership Support Initiative (PLSI) has called on President Muhammadu Buhari to sign the Audit Law that was submitted by the Senate in January 2019.

The Audit Law aims at checking the mismanagement of funds by Ministries, Departments and Agencies (MDAs) in the country.

Mr Elemo made the call on Wednesday, during an interactive session organised by Socio-Economic Rights and Accountability Project (SERAP) in Lagos.

He said the audit law would promote transparency, accountability and fight against corruption among public office holders.

 “If you don’t enact an Audit Law, you will not empower the office of the auditor general and this issue about the accountant general submitting the year-end financial statement will continue,” Mr Elemo cautioned.

“Because there is no delegation of responsibility. So, everybody is just taking advantage of the gap in the system. So, what will it take for the federal government to enact the law?”

He added, “International best practices allow for audit reports to be published at most 18 months after the end of the financial year.”

While reviewing findings from SERAP’s 2018 audit report, Mr Elemo said that 79 agencies of government had a total budget of N2.1 trillion.

“The total funds released to them is N831 billion. And 617 was unaccounted for,” he added.

He mentioned six cross-cutting issues in the audit report – unretired advances, store items not taken on store charge, and circumvention of the procurement procedure.

Others include; irregularities in payment and expenditure which include unauthorised foreign trips, failure in remittance of revenue and irregularities in contract award, execution and payment.

“Of all the six crossing issues, failure in remittance of revenue took about N54 billion. What that means is that MDA’s were generating revenue and they did not remit to the federation account,” he said.

“Three issues we have in Nigeria today are revenue issues, we have a debt crisis even though the…and development deficit.

“There is no way you want to solve the debt crisis and development deficit without talking about revenue. And failure in remittance of revenue grew by 164 per cent. 

“When you look at what happened in 2017 and 2018, there was a growth of 164  per cent. It means that in 2017, failure in remittance of revenue was just N20 billion.  By 2018, failure in remittance of revenue to the federation account has grown to N54 billion. And we are saying that there is no money to implement the budget.”

In the book unveiled by the advocacy group, they recommended that the federal government immediately impose stringent measures, including “withholding financial releases and sanctioning the Chief Executive Officer of MDAS implicated in cases of corruption within their ministries, departments and agenda.

“Establish an independent commission of inquiry with subpoena power to conduct a transparent, comprehensive, and impartial investigation into

systemic corruption within Ministries, Departments and Agencies [MDAs).”

Socio-Economic Rights and Accountability Project (SERAP) also urged the federal government to mandate all heads of MDAs to declare their assets publicly.

The civil societies urged the national assembly to urgently hold a public hearing on reports of corruption identified in the Auditor-General reports since 2013 and “to exercise its constitutional oversight roles to examine the Auditor-General reports and to hold the government President Muhammadu Buhari to account for persistent failure to address reports of corruption within MDAs that the Auditor-General has consistently documented.

“Promptly pass the Proceeds of Crime Bill, the Whistle-blowers Bill, and the Witness Protection Bill among others to improve transparency and accountability and reduce reports of corruption within MDAs.”

We have recently deactivated our website's comment provider in favour of other channels of distribution and commentary. We encourage you to join the conversation on our stories via our Facebook, Twitter and other social media pages.

More from Peoples Gazette

Politics

Abe urges APC, PDP, other Rivers governorship candidates not to fight

“We must be peaceful in our conduct before, during and after the elections, and not to harass anybody,” said Mr Abe.

Rangers International Football Club of Enugu

Sport

CHAN Eagles: Rangers FC players invited to camp

Four players of Rangers International FC of Enugu have been called up to the preliminary 35-man list of the CHAN Eagles for qualifiers to the 2023 competition in Algeria.

Showbiz

PMAN should use music to unite divided Nigeria: Runsewe

The NCAC boss urged the association to produce a Nigerian song that will unify all the different ethnic groups in the country.

Enugu

Insecurity: Ugwuanyi tells NSCDC to improve performance in Enugu

“The corps is known for integrity in service delivery and nothing short of that will be given to the good people of the state,” said the NSCDC commandant.

Health

Enugu rated second best in primary healthcare delivery after FCT

ONE Campaign has rated Enugu as the second highest performing state in primary healthcare service delivery in Nigeria from 2019 to 2021.

FRSC at an accident scene

NationWide

FRSC warns motorists to limit speed when driving in rain

The FRSC said the caution became necessary because of the forecast of heavy rainfall.