Anxiety, as auditor-general nominee Ayine faces Senate screening
Office vacant seven months after last occupant
The office of the Auditor General of the Federation was last week thrown into anxiety, following reports that the nominee for the vacant position, Mr. Anthony Mkpe Ayine, would appear before the Senate Public Accounts Committee today.
Some officials of the office expressed concern about the delay in filling the position, which had become vacant seven month after the retirement of Mr. Samuel Ukura.
One of them, who asked not to be named, told The Guardian that the delayed process had taken a toll on the crusade to sanitise the nation’s financial system.
According to the official: “The filling of the post of auditor-general of the federation is very important to this administration’s fight against corruption.
In the past seven months or so, we have somehow been rudderless, because the two senior officials who have acted had limitations in their operations because they were not substantives.
“For instance, the audit of the Federal Government’s 2015 Financial Statement had been stalled since the retirement of the last auditors general, together with other important policy matters like staff welfare that have stagnated since then.’’
The concerned officials appealed to the Senate that would resume tomorrow after the Christmas break, to treat the screening quickly to bring action back to the Audit House.
They explained that the Federal Government’s accounts have been in default since the stagnation, contrary to the provisions of the Constitution.
They added that only a quick confirmation of the appointment would enable the office to work on the figures and submit them to the National Assembly.
The nominee, who is from Cross River State, is a multiple award-winning Fellow of the Institute of Chartered Accountants of Nigeria [ICAN].
He is the current Auditor General in the Cross River State who has over 18 years post-qualification and professional qualification.
Ayine was selected by President Muhammadu Buhari following his emergence as the best among the last three candidates in a keenly contested selection examination that was organised by the Federal Civil Service Commission.
He graduated with B.Sc. (Hons) degree in accounting from Ahmadu Bello University, Zaria, in the 1985/86 session and has been auditor general for local councils on consolidated salary since September 2001.
Prior to becoming the auditor general, he also served in the state’s Auditor-General’s office from 1988 to 1992 and the then state-owned Equity and Investment Co. Ltd, from 1992-1999, where he rose to the position of Principal Manager and Ministry of Finance Incorporated (MOFI), from 2000 to September 2001.
The nominee was reported to have introduced some reforms while serving as the state’s auditor general.
Some of the reforms are the sanitisation and stabilisation of the payroll system of local councils.
He also guided and supervised the migration from manual payrolls to computerised central payroll system in 2014.
Ayine introduction the monthly pre-payment verification of local council’s payroll and strengthened the internal audit system in the local council’s system.
The nominee was also the brain behind the transformation of local council’s audit approach/strategy.
He increased audit communication with auditors, raised sufficient awareness of managements’ responsibilities over internal controls/checks and financial statements and books of accounts.
He also guided and supervised the introduction and implementation of standardised financial statements in the local council system since 2004, which simplified the current adoption of IPSASs in the system.
In collaboration with GEMS 3, he prepared and introduced Audit and Accounting Manual for the local councils, which are IPSAS’s complaint.
Ayine also significantly upgraded the quality of audit reports such that audit recommendations to facilitate PAC/House resolutions.