Auditor-General canvases financial autonomy for federal, state audit institutions

The acting Auditor-General of Federation, Mrs Florence Anyanwu, says that audit institutions at federal and state levels should have financial autonomy to function effectively.

Anyanwu said this in Abuja on Tuesday at the 46th Bi-Annual Conference of the body of Federal and State Auditors-General.

The conference has the theme: “Entrenching Good Governance for Sustainable Development: Role of Supreme Audit Institutions.”

She said that the 1999 Constitution, in section 85 and 125, made provision for financial and administrative independence of the office of the Auditor-General.

According to her, this is not captured in the act establishing the office.

She called for the quick passage of the reviewed act currently at the Senate to give the office more powers to adequately block all leakages of public funds.

“We want to do our work diligently and take down corruption.

“We have a lot of contributions to make to the growth of the economy and funding the Auditor-General is of great benefit to the country.

“We have the political will in the president to be able to up the accountability process but we need money because most of our job involves investigations and moving round the country.’’

Anyanwu said that the office also needed better funding to upgrade to the international practice of using computerised audit systems.

Meanwhile, the Auditor-General of Edo, Mr Sunday Adegoke, said Auditors-General were not to be blamed for failing to detecting corrupt practices, thereby leaving the fight to anti-graft agencies.

Adegoke said this while responding to questions by newsmen on the role of Auditors-General in proactive prevention of corruption.

“The objective of audit is to express opinion of the financial state of the various governments we are auditing.

“If the financial statement is not prepared in the first place, then there is nothing to express opinion about.

“We have instances where public institutions do not prepare accounts or do not do it on time for the Auditors-General to audit.

“Now, even when the accounts are submitted to the Auditors-General, what the constitution requires us to do is to review, investigate and submit our findings to the National Assembly.

“Our responsibility ends at the point of submitting these reports. We do not have prosecutorial powers like the EFCC and other anti graft agency.’’

Adegoke urged the public to follow the things at the parliaments because parliamentarians were the ones with the power to effect real change, using the facts provided by the audit institutions.

Also, the Auditor-General of Cross River, Mr Chris Nyong, reiterated the need to provide autonomy for audit institutions both at federal and state levels.

“If auditors are allowed to do their jobs, corruption will not be an issue in our country. Fraud will not even be something to talk about in our country,” he said