The Auditor General of the Federation (AuGF), Adolphus Aghughu, has painted an unpleasant picture of the audited accounts of federal Ministries, Departments and Agencies in 2019, saying unsubstantiated balances totalling the sum of N4.973trillion was observed by his office in the audit carried out on the consolidated financial statement for the fiscal year.
He also lamented that his office had been incapacitated in so many ways from functioning effectively and efficiently as far as the detection of mismanagement of public funds by the various MDAs was concerned.
Speaking yesterday while submitting the 2019 Audit report to the Clerk of the National Assembly (CNA), Ojo Amos Olatunde, the Auditor General revealed that, “from the audit carried out on the 2019 Federal Government Consolidated Financial Statement, unsubstantiated balances amounting to N4.973 trillion were observed
“The N4.973 trillion unsubstantiated balances are above the materiality level of N89.34 billion set for the Audit,” he explained.
In auditing, materiality means not just a quantified amount, but the effect that amount would have in various contexts.
During the auditing planning process, the auditor decides what the level of materiality will be, taking into account, the entirety of the financial statements to be audited.
According to the AGF, auditing of consolidated financial statement of the federal government on yearly basis would be expeditiously carried out once made available by the office of the Accountant General of the Federation.
He said: “You will recall that on March 25th this year, Audit of Consolidated Financial Statement of the Federal Government for the 2018 was submitted to this office for the required investigation of queries raised in it by the National Assembly. Just five months after, we are here again to make submission of the 2019 Audit Report”.
The Auditor General, however, lamented that his office was not performing optimally due to myriad of factors crippling its operations and invariably giving room for all forms of financial infractions across the various MDAs.
He explained that, “One of such problems is the absence of Federal Audit Service Law, which is a big challenge as far as effective and efficient public sector auditing are concerned. This is a law that is needed as basis of fiscal sustainability.
“Absence of it at the federal level is very worrisome going by the fact that some of the states of the federation have the required law in place.
“Another problem incapacitating optimal functionality of our mandate as far as thorough and appropriate auditing of financial statements of the MDAs are concerned, is gross underfunding, which is telling much on our efficiency.
“For example, the office is understaffed but there is no money for recruitment. Imagine many of our state offices, having just two or three staff. Auditing is done by a team not by an individual.
“Accommodation is also part of the problem as our staff in Lagos are about to be evicted from their office due to litigations. These are aside problem of insecurity seriously affecting our scope of coverage.”
In his remarks, after receiving the Audit report, Deputy Clerk to the National Assembly, Bala Yabani, who stood in for the Clerk said the report would be submitted to the Clerk for onward submission to both the President of the Senate, Dr. Ahmad Lawan and Speaker of the House of Representatives, Hon Femi Gbajabiamila, for the required legislative consideration.
According to him, all the complaints made by the AGF would be tabled before the leadership of the National Assembly for required actions and solutions.