₦4.9 Trillion Missing: My Office Can’t Function Effectively –AGF Cries Out

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Auditor-General-of-the-Federation-Adolphus-Aghughu

blames the lack of a Federal Audit Service Act, underfunding, and other factors

… According to the 2019 Audit Report, unsubstantiated balances totalling N4.973 trillion are “well above the materiality level of N89.34 billion set for the audit.”

, the Auditor-General of the Federation, lamented yesterday that his office was unable to detect mismanagement of public funds by Ministries, Departments and Agencies (MDAs) and the war on corruption. This came as he announced that his office discovered unsubstantiated balances of N4.973 trillion during the audit of the Federal Government of Nigeria’s consolidated financial statements in 2019.

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“Unsubstantiated balances amounting to N4.973 trillion were observed during the audit carried out on the 2019 Federal Government Consolidated Financial Statement,” Aghughu said while submitting the 2019 Audit Report to the Clerk to the National Assembly (CNA), Ojo Amos Olatunde.

The unsubstantiated balances total N4.973 trillion, which exceed the audit’s materiality threshold of N89.34 billion.

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“In auditing, materiality refers not only to a monetary amount but also to the impact that amount will have in different situations. The auditor determines the level of materiality to be considered during the auditing planning process, which includes the entire set of financial statements to be audited.”

The Auditor-General, on the other hand, pointed out that mandatory inquiries were sent to agencies found to be involved in the violations. He told the CAN, who was represented by his deputy, Barrister Bala Yabani, that the auditing of the Federal Government’s consolidated financial statements every year would be carried out as soon as the office of the Accountant-General of the Federation made the information available.

“You will recall that on March 25, this year, the Audit of the Federal Government’s Consolidated Financial Statement for 2018 was submitted to this office for the required investigation of queries raised in it by the National Assembly. “We are back here just five months later to submit the 2019 Audit Report,” he said. He, on the other hand, bemoaned the fact that his office is not functioning as it should, owing to a slew of factors crippling its operations and invariably allowing for all manner of financial misdeeds across the various MDAs.

“One of these issues is the lack of a Federal Audit Service Law, which poses a significant challenge in terms of effective and efficient public sector auditing.

This is a law that is required to ensure fiscal stability. The fact that some states of the federation have the required law in place raises serious concerns about its absence at the federal level. Another issue impeding the optimal performance of our mandate in terms of thorough and appropriate auditing of MDA financial statements is gross underfunding, which has a significant impact on our efficiency. The office, for example, is understaffed, but there is no money to hire more people. Consider how many of our state offices have only two or three employees. Auditing is done by a group, not by a single person.

“Accommodation is also a problem, as our Lagos staff is about to be evicted from their office due to legal proceedings. These are in addition to insecurity issues that are limiting our coverage,” he lamented. The Deputy Clerk, Barrister Bala Yabani, stated after receiving the report that the report would be forwarded to the Clerk, who would then forward it to both the President of the Senate, Ahmad Lawan, and the Speaker of the House of Representatives, Femi Gbajabiamila, for the required legislative consideration. He stated that all of the ’s complaints would be presented to the National Assembly’s leadership for necessary legislative action.

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