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‘Audit report uncovers N4.973tr unsubstantiated balances’

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Auditor General of the Federation, Adolphus Aghughu

Audit on the consolidated financial statement of the Federal Government of Nigeria in 2019 uncovered N4.973 trillion unsubstantiated balances, said Auditor General of the Federation (AGF), Aghughu Adolphus.

He also lamented that his office is unable to effectively detect mismanagement of public funds by Ministries, Departments and Agencies (MDAs).

While submitting the 2019 Audit Report to the Clerk of the National Assembly, Ojo Amos Olatunde, at the National Assembly Complex, Abuja, yesterday, the AGF said: “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.

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“In auditing terms, materiality means not just a quantified amount but also the effect that amount will have in various contexts. During the auditing planning process, the auditor decides the level of materiality to be taken into account and the entirety of financial statements to be audited. Consequently, as submitted by the Auditor General, required queries were issued against agencies found to be involved in the infractions.”

He told the Clerk, who was represented by his Deputy, Bala Yabani, that auditing of the Consolidated Financial Statement of the Federal Government on yearly basis will be expeditiously carried out, as made available by the office of the Accountant General of the Federation.

“You will recall that on March 25, this year, audit of the Consolidated Financial Statement of the Federal Government for 2018 was submitted to this office for 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,” he said.

He decried factors crippling the effectiveness of his office, invariably giving room to financial infractions in MDAs.

He said: “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.

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“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. 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. Our staff in Lagos are about to be evicted from their office due to litigations. These are aside the problem of insecurity seriously affecting our scope of coverage.”

In his remarks, Yabani said the report would be submitted to the Clerk for onward submission to Senate President Ahmad Lawan and Speaker of the House of Representatives Femi Gbajabiamila for legislative consideration.

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