Law News
Reps repeal 1956 colonial audit law, pass new bill

The House of Representatives on Thursday repealed the 1956 Audit Law and re-enacted the Audit Act of 2014.

The colonial audit law has been in use in the country since independence in 1960 with penalties that lawmakers described as “very weak and laughable.”

The repealed law prescribed penalties as low as two shillings for offences involving the misapplication of public funds, a reason the House said the penalties did not deter offenders from committing more alarming crimes.

In passing the new audit Act, the House created the Federal Audit Service Commission and further strengthened the powers of the Auditor General to investigate and apply stiffer penalties in cases of abuse of public funds.

The House had passed the bill at a session presided over by the Deputy Speaker, Mr. Emeka Ihedioha, after a clause-by-clause consideration of the report on the bill by the Committee of the Whole.

The new bill, “An Act for the establishment of the Office of the Auditor for the Federation, Audit Service Commission, Additional Powers and Functions of Auditor General and for Matters connected therewith,” was jointly sponsored by the Chairman, House Committee on Public Accounts, Mr. Solomon Adeola, and the Chairman, House Committee on Justice, Mr. Ali Ahmed.

The bill now awaits concurrence by the Senate before a clean copy is forwarded by the National Assembly for Presidential assent.

Speaking after the bill was passed, Adeola noted that most of the provisions in the repealed colonial law were “ridiculous.”

Adeola, who is the Senator-elect for Lagos-West in the incoming 8th Assembly, said, “The passed bill will give more powers to the Auditor General as well as establish an Audit Service Commission to take care of recruitment, training and other welfare issues of audit staff of the Auditor General’s Office.

“It also increased penalties to hundreds of thousands of naira.”

He explained that through his interactions with the Accountant General over the years as the Public Accounts Committee chairman, he realised that the office could not deliver on most of its responsibilities because of the weak powers it had in the old law.


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