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The Auditor-General of the Federation, Mr Adolphus Aghughu, has challenged the House of Representatives to constitute a body audit his office, saying there was no one at the moment empowered to do so.

Aghughu threw the challenge when the House of Representatives Committee on Public Accounts paid an

The Chairman of the panel, Wole Oke, faulted the financial reports which were not supported by vouchers and other relevant documents.

He specifically queried the N1.9m allegedly spent on new clinic and additional sum of N3.96m spent on drugs and medical supplies as well as N7.72m spent on medical consulting.

He said the AuGF office incurred the expenditure despite payment of N55.93m as the Nigeria Health Insurance Scheme contribution as contained in the 2020 financial statement against N87.870m NHIS contribution paid in 2019.

The lawmaker then demanded for the staff nominal roll of the office of the AuGF over an increase in the N1.98bn personnel cost for 2019 to N1.99bn appropriated in 2020, despite the depleting workforce and the request for 500 new staff.

The reps panel observed that the clinic which had two female nurses who dressed in mufti only contained a medium oxygen cylinder and a single bed.

The documents presented to the committee showed that out of N984.23m budget appropriated in 2019, the sum of N969.49m was released for which training got a larger chunk of the released fund.

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The Reps panel, however, queried the sums of N120.3m spent on international travels & transport (audit of foreign mission, consular offices & 20 defence attaches).

It also faulted the N40.71m spent on local travels and transport (training), and the additional N286.88m on local travels and transport, others (hqtrs/State branch office.

The AuGF said the sum of N28.8m was spent on the completion of the Audit House roofing.

A member of the panel, Omowumi Ogunlola, said, “We have a document prepared for us which is pre-emptive.

“We don’t have any evidence or proof of how the money here is being expended. We at the Public Account Committee have always insisted that MDAs come with their evidence of their spending and expenditure.

“Is it because this is auditor-general’s office that they will just give to us these documents for us to see without any evidence of how the budget given to them is being expended?

“Secondly, this is the office of the Auditor-General of the Federation. You audit all the Ministries, Departments and Agencies. Who audit this office? Which office is saddled with that responsibility of checkmating this office?

“We are not auditing them, but oversight them. So, who calls to order the recklessness of the financial spending of this office?”

The AuGF took exceptions to Ogunlola’s submissions.

He said, “I want to observe that the words being used for this office by one of your members is not palatable.

“Words like recklessness by the office of the Auditor General of the Federation. I plead that the word does not apply to this office. We have core values which guide this office.

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“Some of us are doing this work, putting our integrity to it. The parliament has the right to make a law on who audits this office. There is no law that has provided for this office to be audited.

“This is oversight and there is no way I would have adequately prepared for the questions you will come here and ask. So, if it is evidence that you want, constitute an audit and we will make our records available for audit. It is not for me, auditor-general, to come here with all the evidence.”

Oke disagreed with the AuGF and said, “You didn’t hear her well. I understand your concern and I listened to our colleague who used that word.

“That word wasn’t alleged that you are reckless. She was only saying that, assuming there are such practices, who checks them? We are lawmakers and we also know the rules.

“The parliament is a quasi-judicial body. We are like a court of law where you listen to cases brought before you and you have to listen to both sides before you adjudicate.

“So, if that is your own perception of the question raised by my colleague, I want to correct it to say that she was only asking that, assuming that there are inappropriate actions or spending which she referred to as recklessness.

“She is not alleging that the auditor-general of the federation is being reckless. That is not the situation.”

Oke then asked the AuGF to provide all supporting documents for all the expenditures incurred by his office since 2019 to date.

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He also demanded for relevant documents for the N72.56m spent on insurance premium in 2020.

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