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‘MDAs stifle nation’s progress, disregard rule of law’

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Chairman of the Ninth Public Account Committee (PAC) of the National Assembly, Oluwole Oke, yesterday, berated the lack of accountability of Ministries, Departments and Agencies (MDAs) to the Office of the Auditor-General of the Federation (OAuGF).

He spoke in Lagos at a two-day national workshop tagged, ‘Auditor General’s Queries: The A-B-C of Responses, PAC Technology Innovations and MDAs’ Compliance’.

Oke, who was represented by PAC Deputy Chairman, Abdullahi Abdulkadir, disclosed that 12 MDAs were never audited from 1993 to 2010; 65 agencies were never audited since they were created; and 323 others failed to submit audited reports to the OAuGF in 2016.

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The Ninth PAC is saddled with parliamentary oversight, including validating the work of the Eighth Assembly in respect of the reports of the Auditor-General for the years 2011 to 2016.

The Eighth PAC had worked on the 2010 to 2014 reports, with the 2010 report laid and approved by the House, while the 2011-2014 reports were laid, but had not been approved by the House.

Consequently, it became the duty of the Ninth Assembly to finalise the reports with a view to having them approved by the House in record time.

Abdulkadir said the 2016 report of the OAuGF threw up quite a number of intractable issues, which required careful scrutiny, even with the previous years’ reports.

He said: “The three pillars of democracy are often flagrantly ignored by accounting officers AOs of some of the MDAs. Submission of improper documents such as missing vouchers, tax receipts, contract papers and sometimes, suspicious documents designed to mislead the committee during the hearing process are the order of the day.”

He listed: “Lack of articulation on the part of the AOs to make effective presentations to defend their cases; attempt to defend the indefensible; failure of some of the MDAs to submit audited financial reports to the Accountant-General of the Federation and subsequent review and audit by the OAuGF.”

He added: “If the MDAs are able to clear themselves before the Accountant General, there would absolutely be no need for PAC’s intervention. This allows us time for other oversight engagements outside financial audit. However, where the PAC intervenes, it is only in the best interest of the MDAs and the nation at large.”

On his part, PAC Technical Adviser, Dr. Greg Ezeilo, lamented that the country has lost billions of naira to the lackadaisical attitudes of MDAs.

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