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Unaudited accounts Reps panel indicts NNPE, CBN, Others

Unaudited accounts Reps panel indicts NNPE, CBN Others

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The House of Representatives Committee on Public Accounts has laid its report on ministries, departments and agencies of the Federal Government who failed to render their audited accounts within eight years.
Prominent among those indicted in the report laid at the plenary on Thursday by the committee’s Chairman, Oluwole Oke, are the Central Bank of Nigeria, Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (now Nigerian National Petroleum Company Limited), Niger Delta Development Commission, Revenue Mobilisation Allocation and Fiscal Commission, among others.
It was titled, ‘Report of the Committee on Public Accounts on the Deliberate and Reckless Refusal by Ministries, Departments and Agencies of Government to Render Audited Accounts for the periods 2014–2018 and 2019–2021 to the Auditor–General for the Federation and Approve the Recommendations Therein.’
In the report, the committee recommended prosecutions by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, warrant of arrest issuance against chief accounting officers and sanctioning of various MDAs.
For the financial years between 2019 and 2021, the committee urged the Federal Ministry of Finance, Budget and National Planning; the Accountant General of the Federation and Auditor–General for the Federation to “jointly issue a government circular specifying strong sanctions against agencies that violated Financial Regulation 3010.”
The committee also stated that “many Agencies often violate the Appropriation Act by deliberately subjecting their internally generated revenue to some committees (of the National Assembly) directly overseeing them for approval and expend same illegally without Mr. President’s assent.”
In its findings in the first batch of investigations covering 2014 to 2018, the committee said some MDAs complained that the procurement process of hiring their external auditors was cumbersome, which was the reason for operating during these periods without being audited.
The committee said it also discovered gross negligence by Directors of Finance & Accounts/Bursars in some MDAs in ensuring the accounts are audited as and when due, delay in the appointment of governing councils/boards and delay in approving/signing of audited accounts by the governing councils/boards.
According to the committee, some incumbent Chief Accounting Officers refused to sign audited accounts prepared by former CEOs, with some MDAs submitting unsigned accounts to it, while some letters evidencing remittance of audited accounts to the Office of the Auditor General for the Federation had either faint or no acknowledgement of receipt stamp.
The committee, therefore, recommended that all MDAs should be directed to submit their audited account on or before May 31 every year; that the board or governing council meeting should be convened to sign audited accounts immediately after it is submitted by the external auditors; that in the absence of a board or governing council, the supervising body of the MDAs should sign audited accounts in order to avoid delay in rendition to the Office of the Auditor-General.
“No outgoing CEO should exit office without duly completing the process of audited accounts, signed and rendered to the Office of the Auditor-General,” the committee recommended.
The report read in part, “All chief accounting officers of the 54 government agencies listed on Pages 4 – 6 that refused to appear to defend their positions during the public fearing without any written reason, prominent among them are CBN, NNPC, NDDC, RMAFC, etc., should be issued warrant of arrest to compel their appearance to respond to the matter within a week, in line with section 89 (d) of the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, 1999 (as amended).”
On the Nigeria Maritime Administration and Safety Agency, the committee stated that “the reckless and deliberate refusal by the management of the agency to render their audited accounts for the past five years (2005 – 2019) is a violation of Section 85 (3) (b) of the 1999 Constitution.”
The panel added, “All those in office that were responsible should be disciplined and referred to the EFCC in line with Financial Regulation 3129 of 2009.”
Concerning the National Social Insurance Trust Fund, the committee said it “frowned at the worrisome attitude of the agency for refusing to render its audited accounts for the last 13 years, yet benefited from the federal treasury.”
The panel, therefore, recommended that, “All the Directors-General and DFAs as well as the various external auditors from 2006 to 2019 should be handed over to the EFCC in line with FR No. 3129 for prosecution accordingly.”
The committee also recommended that all the former MDs, DFAs and external auditors of the Federal Mortgage Bank of Nigeria from 2013 to 2018 that were involved in the non-rendition of audited accounts should be handed over to EFCC and sanctioned accordingly.
According to the report, the Federal Housing Authority submitted audited accounts last in 2003.
“The Agency could not provide proof for the rendition of 2014 audited accounts. This act negates Section 85 (3) (6) of the Constitution. Therefore, all former MDAs, DFAs and external auditors should be handed over to the EFCC and sanctioned accordingly,” the committee recommended.
Similarly, the Nigeria Integrated Water Resources also could not tender documents on rendition of audited accounts since its inception in 2009, while the lawmakers asked that all former DGs, DFAs as well as the present Acting DG “should be sanctioned” and that “the EFCC should prosecute all found responsible in accordance with the law.”
In the case of the Nigeria Communication Satellite, the panel recommended that the MD and DFA of the NigComSat should be sanctioned and handed over to the EFCC for non-rendition of 2014–2016 audited accounts.
Also, the committee said the former DG and DFA as well as the present DG and DFA of the Infrastructure Concession Regulatory Commission “should be sanctioned and handed over to the EFCC for non-rendition of 2015–2018 audited accounts to the Office of the Auditor General.”
For the National Drug Law Enforcement Agency, all officers responsible for the non-rendition of 2014–2018 audited accounts should be sanctioned in line with FR 3129, the panel resolved.
Concerning the Nigeria Customs Service, the committee said invited the DG of the Bureau of Public Procurement to appear before it to clarify the position of the Service. The Service was asked to make all copies of their correspondences to BPE for clarification, the panel noted.
“Up to the time of writing this report, the Service has not complied with the directive. The Custom Service should, therefore, be warned to desist from disrespecting the rulings of the House committees; and appropriate disciplinary measures be taken against them in order to curb future disrespect to the parliament,” the lawmakers recommended.
In the case of the Transmission Company of Nigeria, the panel said it had “never rendered its audited accounts to the Auditor General for the Federation since its inception in 2013 to date,” asking that all those responsible should be sanctioned in line with Financial Regulation No. 3129.

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