Sunday Aborisade, Abuja
The Senate on Wednesday advised the Federal Government to invest more in preventing corruption by funding the Office of the Auditor General of the Federation.
The Chairman, Senate Committee on Public Accounts, Senator Matthew Urhoghide, stated this in Abuja when the Auditor General of the Federation, Mr Anthony Ayine, appeared before the committee for the 2019 budget defence.
Urhoghide maintained that it would be difficult for the government to achieve any meaningful results in its fight against corruption when the Office of the Auditor General of the Federation was underfunded.
He said, “The EFCC has a whooping N22bn in the 2019 budget while the auditor general’s office has just N3bn. I don’t think they (Executive) believe in this office, if not they will not be underfunding it every year.
“If this administration really wants to achieve much in the area of transparency and probity, it is better to invest in stopping corruption instead of fighting it.”
Urhoghide, however, appealed to President Muhammadu Buhari to urgently sign into law the Federal Audit Bill before him to give a strong backing to the fight against corruption in the country.
He added, “The administrative autonomy will enable the OAuGF to attract quality human capital at competitive standards for improved efficiency as the recruitment of workers will now be conducted professionally by the Federal Audit Service Commission.”
According to him, the attorney general will be able to examine or investigate how money given to organisations where the Federal Government had interest was used.
When he appeared before the panel, Ayine told the members that his office planned to recruit 969 new staff members this year to further improve the performances of the office, saying some of the workers would soon retire and needed to be replaced so as not to create vacuum.
He said the poor funding of his office had been a recurring problem that had led to its underperformance.