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Reps Panel Queries Auditor-General Over ‘Reckless Expenses’

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The House of Representatives Committee on Public Accounts has directed the office of the Auditor-General for the Federation (oAuGF) to submit supporting documents for all the expenses it incurred from 2019 to date.

The committee requested the office to submit the documents to it within seven days.

Its chairman, Wole Oke (PDP, Osun), gave the directive during an oversight visit to the oAuGF on Wednesday.

The committee flagged some expenses by the agency while reviewing the document provided by the Auditor General, Adolphus Aghughu.

Some of the expenses include: N1.9 million allegedly spent on the new clinic, N3.9 million spent on drugs and medical supplies and N7.721 million spent on medical consulting despite payment of N55.933 million as NHIS contribution.

Another line item queried by the committee was the expenditure on local and international travels.

According to the document, the agency spent N120,304,830 on international travels & transport, N40,710,380 on local travels, an additional N286,881,055.18 on local travels & transport, others (hqtrs/State branch offices), additional N100,093,600 on local travels and N35,710,812 on Auditors-General annual conference without specifying the location and vouchers.

Furthermore, the committee queried the utilisation of N1.3 billion released in 2020 to the office, despite COVID-19 restrictions.

A member of the committee, Omowumi Ogunlola (APC, Ekiti), stressed the need for more oversight of the agency.

He said, “This is the office of the Auditor General of the 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 them, but oversight them. So, who calls to order the recklessness of the financial spending of this office?”

Reacting to the comment by Ms Ogunlola, the Auditor General protested the use of the word ‘reckless’ and urged the lawmakers to provide law establishing a body to audit the agency.

“The parliament has the right to make a law on who audit this office. There is no law that has provided for this office to be audited and we object to it,” he stated.

Consequently, the committee demanded documents to back up all the expenses incurred by the agency.

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