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AGF begins forensic audit of MDAs

By Mathias Okwe, Assistant Business Editor, Abuja
24 February 2017   |   4:20 am
The days internal auditors in Federal Government ministries, departments and agencies (MDAs) get away with complicity in fraud and other financial malfeasance perpetrated...


Blames internal auditors for corruption in public sector
The days internal auditors in Federal Government ministries, departments and agencies (MDAs) get away with complicity in fraud and other financial malfeasance perpetrated in their agencies are now over, as government is prepared to make them answer for their misdeeds while serving or even after retirement.

The Accountant General of the Federation (AGF), Ahmed Idris, gave the warning on Wednesday, at the flag off of the inaugural training workshop for internal auditors on the implementation of forensic auditing in the MDAs. He also identified internal auditors as the prime culprits in the large scale corruption in Nigeria’s public service.

Internal auditors are responsible for ensuring that corporate processes and associated controls are functioning as intended, while also improving efficiency to save money for establishments through effective resource allocation. As a result, auditors are regarded as being complicit to corruption in an organisation, as such activities cannot thrive if they are dedicated to their duty.

Idris restated that very stiff action will now be taken against those found wanting, as Government is determined to stamp out corruption in its entirety.

According to the AGF, “We do pre-audit before payments are made to beneficiaries. If internal auditors do their jobs very well, we won’t have the large scale financial mismanagement cases we have in public life in the country today. Let me remind you that any auditor can be held responsible if he fails to do what he is supposed to do and he will answer for his action even in retirement.

“This is so because the internal audit function is very key to the good governance reforms of the Federal Government as without internal audit function nothing would go out. That is why our commitment to instituting forensic auditing is not just strong but the implementation is apt and timely,” he emphasized.

The AGF expressed delight over the collaboration with the Association of Forensic and Investigative Auditors in Nigeria (AFIA), the body which is transferring the forensic auditing skills to the internal auditors in the MDAs, saying this will reduce to the barest minimum incidences of graft in public life.

Speaking at the workshop, the Director, Audit Monitoring, Office of the Accountant–General of the Federation (OAGF), Hakeem Adeniyi Dosunmu, explained that the introduction of the forensic audit and investigation is aimed at moving auditing function from its traditional function to contemporary role. This, he said, is the crux of the reforms in governance in the country.

His words: “Sometimes in the past, we have been on the GIFMIS, the IPPIS, we have the treasury single account and what have you. But somehow, the forensic audit model was left behind. But thank God with the zeal of the new administration this innovation is now being brought on board so that we would now focus more on risk- based audit.

“This is so that auditors are more equipped to carry out their functions as well as produce modern audit reports that can be presented in the court of law. This is important because at the moment, we lose a lot of good cases in courts because of the nature of audit reports that we generate, which sometimes are not tenable in courts.’’

The President AFIA, the world leading forensic audit and investigative organisation , Dr. Victoria Enape, declared that forensic auditing is the application of modern hitech skills and knowledge to identify traces of fraud in any shade being perpetrated by fraudsters anywhere, be it in public or private life.

She explained that the collaboration with the Federal Government is aimed at, “developing and improving the technique and practice of forensic auditors/forensic investigators. It will also promote the study of and provide instruction in forensic audit and investigation fields as well as promote and maintain high standards of professional etiquette and conduct among others.”