Reps And Auditor-General Disagree Over Budget Expenditures

Members of the House of Representatives Committee on Public Accounts and the Auditor-General of the Federation, Adolphus Arhotomhenla, have had some disagreements over budget expenditures. 

They had the disagreements on Wednesday when the committee paid an oversight visit to the Audit House in Abuja.

During the visit, the members of the committee, led by the Chairman, Wole Oke, picked holes in the financial reports presented by the Auditor-General.

A member of the committee, Hassan Sokodabo, for instance, faulted the rise in welfare packages in 2020, compared to 2019.

“In 2019. you said N12 million and I begin to wonder how, in 2020, the welfare package jumped to N77 million,” Sokodabo said.

Another member of the House Committee on Public Accounts, Omowumi Ogunlola, had concerns about how the expenses of the office of the auditor-general of the federation, were audited.

“This is the Office of the Auditor-General of that Federation. You audit all the Ministries, Departments, and Agencies. Who audits this office? Which office is saddled with the responsibility of checkmating this office? “We are not auditing any of their expenditures, we are just oversighting (sic).”

Both parties also had some disagreement on the auditing of Nigerian foreign missions.

In response, the Auditor-General said he was not informed that the visit was for an audit and he was, therefore, unprepared.

“This is an oversight visit. There is no way I would have prepared for the questions you are asking. If it is evidence you want, constitute an audit,” the Auditor-General said.

The committee, therefore, demanded every document backing the claims of the Auditor-General.

The deputy chairman of the committee pleaded with his colleagues to give the Auditor-General more time to provide the needed documents. But they disagreed, insisting that the request must come from the Auditor-General.

Thereafter, the Auditor-General suggested that a law be put in place to identify and empower someone to audit his office.

Currently, the office of the Auditor-General is the only agency that the House Committee on Public Accounts is empowered by law to exercise oversight function over.

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