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2015 Audited Accounts: Senate threatens to expose erring MDAs

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The Nigerian Senate on Wednesday said it will make public the identities of Ministries, Departments and Agencies, MDAs, indicted by the report of the Auditor-General of the Federation, AGF, on the audited accounts for the year 2015.

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The President of the Senate, Ahmad Lawan stated this even as the upper legislative chamber requested the Chairman of its Committee on Public Accounts, Senator Matthew Urhoghide to return with an executive summary of his report on the queries raised by the Auditor-General of the Federation.

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The Urhoghide report indicted 59 MDAs out of the 114 agencies queried by the Auditor-General. It had the queries of 46 other agencies vacated.

In all, a total of 84 government agencies appeared before the Senate Panel.

While 21 MDAs made only written submissions without appearing before the Senate panel, 7 others completely refused to appear before the panel to defend their expenses.

Irked by this behaviour, the President of the Senate said those indicted and have refused to provide an explanation for their spending of public funds have no business occupying such positions.

Presenting the report, Urhoghide said a number of late submissions of annual financial statements by most of the government agencies had to be seriously addressed to enhance the auditing system in the country.

He said other bottlenecks include: reckless withdrawal by the executive arm of government from Special Fund Accounts other than for the purpose they were created; lack of cooperation between the office of the Auditor-General and the Office of the Accountant-General- two key agencies involved in the management and supervision of public funds.
He also identified a widespread of unwholesome financial reports by key revenue-generating agencies as a major constraint to an effective and efficient auditing process.

Urhoghide welcomed the tough stance of the Senate President on erring MDAs, recommending an even stiffer guideline that will make it mandatory for MDAs to show evidence of their Audited Financial Account for the previous year (s) before they are allowed to present and defend any new budget.