President Muhammadu Buhari has urged Auditors-General in the country to support the fight against corruption, with their constitutional powers.
In a statement issued by the Presidency, Buhari said: ”As accountability institutions in the Federal, states and local governments, and as the institutions empowered under the Constitution to review the financial performance of public officers even where there has been no petition or allegation, you are uniquely placed to tackle corrupt practices. ”Through your audit findings and recommendations, corrupt practices would be discovered early and loopholes blocked before they are exploited. ”Furthermore, you have the full range of audit tools at your disposal including financial compliance, performance and Information Technology audits. ”There is literally no aspect of government performance or expenditure you cannot examine. What may be missing is the will to properly deploy the powers that you have. ”In which case, I will remind you that under-performance by auditors, or ineffective audits, contribute largely to governance problems. Auditors therefore need to decide not to be part of the problem but the arrow to the solution.”
While highlighting some key achievements of his administration in the fight against corruption to include significant arrests, and recoveries of cash, Buhari noted that the fight against corruption cannot be won until the generality of Nigerians are determined to join the fight against corruption.
He said: ”These successes include significant arrests, recoveries of cash and properties purchased with stolen funds and the blockage of loopholes through which people siphon public funds. ”You may also have noted the progress made by the Judiciary in the trials of several cases and the sanctions and sentences being handed out to offenders. ”You will also be aware of this administration’s Financial Transparency Policy and the launch of the Open Treasury Portal at the end of 2019. This again is to improve on accountability, access to information for all citizens and the timeliness of financial information. ”You can see that a lot has been done, but there is so much more to do, as the cancer of corruption has deeply affected our country and our governance practices, and the fight cannot be won until all tiers of government and indeed the generality of Nigerians are determined to join the fight against corruption.’’
Anticipating proper audits at all tiers of Government, Buhari said it was sad to see that despite ravaging corrupt practices, no audits or financial statements from any state has revealed misappropriation in recent times.
”My expectation for the future is to see audits conducted at all tiers of Government with more impactful findings. I expect audit institutions to be able to report the amount of financial impacts and savings they have achieved for their government, along with non-financial impacts. ”Has any annual Financial Statements produced by any of the States received anything other than a clean audit opinion as far back as you can remember? ”You will admit this is strange, in view of the significant cases of misappropriation that have been uncovered, the huge balances that have been recovered and the sentences being served by convicted officials including past state governors,” Buhari said.