Jonathan Nda-Isaiah  and Sunday Isuwa

auditor general

A total of N4.973 trillion was misappropriated by ministries, departments and agencies (MDAs) in 2019, an audit report by the auditor general of the federation (AuGF) has revealed.

The infractions amounting to N4.973 trillion were discovered during an audit carried out on the consolidated financial statement of the Federal Government of Nigeria in 2019.

The report was submitted to the National Assembly yesterday and the lawmakers will begin a probe in September when they return from their long recess.
The auditor general of the federation, Adolphus Aghughu, while submitting the report, said his office had queried some agencies over the N4.973 trillion infractions.

Aghughu lamented that his office is incapacitated in so many ways from functioning effectively and efficiently as far as detection of mismanagement of public funds by the various MDAs is concerned, adding that such is thwarting the war against corruption.

The report was submitted to the Clerk of the National Assembly (CNA), Ojo Amos Olatunde.
The AuGF 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 N89.34billion set for the Audit.”

In auditing, materiality means not just a quantified amount, but the effect that amount will have in various contexts. During the audit planning process, the auditor decides what the level of materiality will be, taking into account the entirety of the 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 of the National Assembly who was represented by his deputy, Barrister Bala Yabani, that auditing the consolidated financial statement of the federal government on yearly basis will be expeditiously carried out as soon as it is made available by the Office of the Accountant General of the Federation.
“You will recall that on the 25th of March this year, the Audit of Consolidated Financial Statement of the Federal Government for the 2018 was submitted to this office for the required investigation of queries raised in it by the National Assembly.

“Just five months after, we are here again to make the submission of the 2019 Audit Report “, he said .

He however lamented that his office was not working the way it should, due to myriad factors crippling its operations and invariably giving room for all forms of financial infractions across the various MDAs.

“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 is concerned.
“This is a law that is needed as a 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

“Another problem incapacitating optimal functionality of our mandate, as far as thorough and appropriate auditing of financial statements of the MDAs is concerned, is gross underfunding which is telling much on our efficiency.

“For example, the office is understaffed but there is no money for recruitment; imagine many of our state offices, having just two or three staff members. Auditing is done by a team, not by an individual,” he said.

“Accommodation is also part of the problem, as our staff in Lagos are about to be evicted from their office due to litigation. These are aside problems of insecurity, seriously affecting our scope of coverage,” he lamented.

In his remarks after receiving the report, the Deputy Clerk to the National Assembly, DCNA, Barrister Bala Yabani, said the report would be submitted to the Clerk for onward submission to both the president of the Senate, Ahmad Lawan, and Speaker of the House of Representatives , Rt Hon Femi Gbajabiamila, for the required legislative consideration .

He added that all the complaints made by the AGF will be tabled before the leadership of the National Assembly for required actions and solutions.
“Your complaints are very germane. They will surely be conveyed to the appropriate quarters that will surely do the needful on them because the people heading the quarters have listening ears,” he said.

Meanwhile, the federal government has approved a total of N21,107,212,510 for projects in the Aviation and Education ministries, as well as for some federal agencies.

This was disclosed to State House correspondents after the virtual federal executive council meeting presided over by President Muhammadu Buhari at the Presidential Villa, Abuja.

The minister of aviation, Hadi Sirika, said council approved four memoranda for his ministry, the total cost of which amounted to N16,697,742,839.
According to him, the projects to be executed in the contracts include construction of Wachakal Airport in Yobe State at N6.3 billion; post construction services for the same airport at the cost of N219.8 million; procurement of eight airport rescue and firefighting vehicles at the cost of N9.5 billion, and a contract for the deployment of sniffer dogs to the Lagos and Abuja international airports at the cost of N658.8 million.

He said, “FEC approved four memoranda from civil aviation, one of it is approval for the construction of Wachakal Airport in Yobe State and at the contract sum of N6,284,065,056. Even and in our drive to develop the sector and ensure connectivity within our region and also improve on our security architecture and also attend to the various needs of civilization, we found this airport and many others that are coming across the country useful.

“The second was a post-Consultancy Services for the construction of the same airport, Wachakal Air stripe which is very close to Nguru in Yobe state. So, first Consultancy Services is given to Kafe Engineering at the sum of N219,782,500 only. This will include seven and a half percent VAT.

Speaking further he said, Tthe third memorandum was for the supply and maintenance of eight units of airport rescue and firefighting vehicle including spare parts and training. And this was given to Messers Gulf of Africa International Limited. the exclusive representatives of the OEM and the OEMs are Emirate fire fighting equipment factory, this is in the sum of N9,535,132,500 even. This also will include seven and a half percent and delivery period for this procurement is 12 months.

“The last memo that was taken from aviation, it has to do with approval for the award of contract for the deployment of sniffer dogs canine in airports in Lagos and Abuja, we will be continuing with this procurement and other airports as well. So, the total contract sum for this procurement is N658,762,783.36 which includes seven and a half percent VAT”, he said.