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Auditor General seeks passage of audit law to fight corruption

The retreat was organised by the Office of the Auditor General of the Federation and Department of International Development (DFID) for PACs of the National Assembly in Abuja. Besides, the Chairman, United Kingdom Parliament on Public Account Committee, PAC, Hon. Margaret Hodge said the UK parliament is ready to partner the National Assembly NASS and Office of the Auditor General of the Federation (OAuGF) to ensure the success of anti-corruption campaign of President Muhammadu Buhari.



Mr. Ukura, while canvassing for the quick passage of the audit bill, noted that the war against corruption is strongly depended on works of the PACs, adding, “This is at the core of president Buhari’s agenda for change.”

According to him, “An effective partnership between the office of the Accountant-General for the federation and the Public Accounts Committees of the National Assembly is crucial for the improved public accountability and governance that all Nigerians are yearning for,” he said.

The Chairman, United Kingdom Parliament on Public Account Committee (PAC), Hon. Margaret Hodge, who also spoke at the retreat, stressed further that, although the present administration has been committed to reducing wastages and inefficiencies in the public service but there was need for more assurance from the public account committees.

According to her, “Beyond inefficiency and wastage, we know that corruption has hindered the performance of a number of public agencies over recent years and we welcome President Buhari’s prominentanti-corruption agenda. The PAC has the potential to be one of the key parliamentary champions of the anti-corruption agenda, and demonstrate NASS’ commitment to help clean up the public service.

“The opportunity is there but will need real leadership from the committees and partnership with the auditor general in order for this to be achieved. And we need to work together to stamp out corruption. Corruption is present in every society. No country is immune. But the solution is not simply to accept it. The solution is better, more accountable government.”

Hodge, who was represented by Ukaid Head of Office, Ben Mellor emphasized that the public account committees are one of the strongest parliamentary tools to drive accountability and transparency in government. She said if the Nigeria Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative (NEITI) report can be made public, nothing should stop PACs from publicising their audit reports if genuinely they represent the electorates.    “

…what could possibly stop this from happening? The publishing ofNEITI audits proves that it’s possible to make audits public in Nigeria even with one of the most secretive sectors,” she queried. In his remark, the Senate President, Bukola Saraki said the essence of appointing PAC Chairmen from opposition party was to ensure accountability in audit reports.

He said aside from public perception that politicians are corrupt; public servants should not be coerced before doing what is right. Saraki who was represented by Senator Biodun Olujimi stated that,”Public servants should develop the will to avoid falsifying public accounts. There is need for PACs and the auditor general office to work together to ensure proper administration.”

He asked the Auditor General to ensure offenders are brought to justice. However, House Committee Chairman on PAC, Hon. Kingsley Chinda pledged to ensure the Audit bill pass through the second reading in the House. He said it has already scaled through first reading. The lawmaker emphasized need to look beyond the bill being passed into law but implementation of recommendations in the bill by the attorney general of the federation.

“We want to assure the Nigerian public that the 8th Assembly will pass the audit bill to the executive arm but who will implement the resolution of the legislative arms? Is the office of the attorney general willing and ready to prosecute his friends?”

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