Posted by Sanya Adejokun, Abuja | 23 July 2018 | 1,365 times
More Federal Government agencies are shunning the mandatory submission of their annual accounts to the Office of Auditor General of the Federation (AuGF) according to the 2016 Audit Report recently submitted to the National Assembly by the Accountant general of the Federation (AGF).
AuGF, Mr Anthony Ayine in the report noted that “Financial Statements of Government Statutory Corporations, Companies, Commissions, etc, otherwise called Parastatals are not audited by my Office, in line with Section 85(3) (a) of the 1999 Constitution.
“However, in accordance with Section 85(3)(b) of the Constitution, their Annual Accounts and Auditor‟s reports thereon shall be submitted to me for comments. “Most of the government Corporations, Companies and Commissions have not submitted their audited accounts for 2016 to me.
“Only 51 audited Financial Statements for 2016 and 149 for 2015 have been submitted to my Office as of 27th December, 2017, despite the provision of Financial Regulation 3210(v) which enjoins the Chief Executive Officers of these bodies to submit both the Audited Accounts and Management Report to me not later than 31st May of the following year of Account.”
Insinuating that accountants preparing the reports submitted to him were incompetent, Eyine said that the reports were rejected about five times before he was finally able to make some sense of them.
Although Section 85 (5) of the Constitution requires AuGF to submit report on the audit of the Accountant-General’s Financial Statements to the National Assembly within 90 days of receipt of the Statements from the Accountant-General of the Federation, those statements for the year ended 31st December 2016 were first submitted by the Accountant-General of the Federation on 30th June, 2017.
“Following my preliminary observations, the statements were significantly amended and resubmitted on 29th September 2017. Further amendments to the Financial Statements led to another re-submission on 29th December 2017 and 16th January 2018 before the final version was eventually submitted on 20th March 2018”, he noted.
The AuGF observed that ministries, departments and agencies (MDAs) and their accounting officers were reverting to past practices where they did not promptly respond to audit observations. “I am concerned about this development, which is a major setback to our accountability process. Where accounting officers fail to respond to audit queries, the implication is that they have no explanation to offer.
“They should be compelled by the Public Accounts Committees to comply with the audit recommendations on such issues.”
While expressing great concern over the extensive violation of statutory financial reporting obligations by parastatals is of great concern, Ayine recommended that “stringent sanctions, including withholding financial releases and sanction of the chief executives should be imposed on defaulting agencies who do not render timely accounts, as provided in the Constitution and financial regulations.”
•Culled from Tribune report
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