Audit report indicts 101 MDAs for N149.4 billion unaccounted fund

THE 2020 Audit report published by the Auditor General of the Federation has accused 101 federal government ministries and institutions of unaccounted funds totaling N149.36 billion.

The audit report complies with the provisions of the 1999 constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria. 

Section 85(5) of the 1999 Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, (as amended), states that “the Auditor-General shall, within ninety days of receipt of the accountant general’s financial statement, submit his reports under this section to each House of the National Assembly and each House shall cause the reports to be considered by a committee of the House of the National Assembly responsible for public accounts.”

Cut-Crossing Issues on 2020 Audit report
Cut-Crossing Issues on 2020 Audit report

The report identified 23 issues ranging from unaccounted funds, irregular payments, overpayment to contractors, non-remittance of statutory taxes, non-deduction of statutory stamp duty, and others.

The highest misappropriation reported was N37.2 billion in government revenue not accounted for, N29.1 billion extra-budgetary expenditure, N24.2 billion irregular payment for allowances and N15.1 billion paid vouchers not presented for audit.

Some others include N225.3 million for overpayment to contractors, N74.9 million for using public funds for private functions, N463.2 million for violation of the e-payment policy of the federal government, N775.9 million for irregular possession of government vehicles, and others

The ICIR reported Zainab Ahmed, the former minister for Finance, Budget and National Planning, diverted public funds into private accounts and paid N266 million without proper documentation. Also, a former vice chancellor of Michael Okpara University of Agriculture, Umudike, Abia state, has failed to return six pool vehicles, amounting to N95 million.

Read More on the[ 2020 Audit Report] here

Cut-Crossing Issues on 2020 Audit report
Cut-Crossing Issues on 2020 Audit report

FG fails to comply with regulations

The report, which was recently released, is coming three years after the financial year of the 2020 budget. By this release, the federal government has failed to comply with the Fiscal Responsibility Act (FRA) provisions, 2007. 

Section 49 (1) of the FRA, 2007, says that “the Federal Government shall publish their audited accounts not later than six months following the end of the financial year”. 

The last audit report released by the Office of the Auditor General was the 2019 audit report in August 2021, 10 months behind the financial year.






     

     

    Also, the International Public Sector Accounting Standards (IPSAS) Paragraph 69 explains that ongoing factors such as the complexity of an entity’s operations are not sufficient reasons for failing to report on a timely basis.

    Cut-Crossing Issues on 2020 Audit report
    Cut-Crossing Issues on 2020 Audit report

    The Programme Officer, of Paradigm Leadership Support Initiative (PLSI), Abdullahi Adebayo, told The ICIR that untimely releases of Audit reports have a lot of negative consequences on the country’s growth, such as untimely review of this report by the Public Accounts Committees (PAC) of the National Assembly, lack of implementation of the recommendations of the auditor general and the resolutions of the PAC on recovering the unaccounted funds, loss of public funds etc

    He said, “If these funds are to be recovered, I am certain it is going to play a huge role in the nation’s budget, especially in funding some significant projects in the Education, Health, Agriculture, WASH, and Environment sectors.

    “It is becoming a routine now in Nigeria. Unfortunately, this can’t help us achieve the desired development as the African giant nation and the need for FG to ensure a speedy enactment of the Federal Audit Service Bill to guarantee the independence of the Supreme Audit Institution in Nigeria.”

    Kehinde Ogunyale tells stories by using data to hold power into account. You can send him a mail at [email protected] or Twitter: Prof_KennyJames

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