The Accountant General of the Federation, Alhaji Ahmed Idris, has been queried by the Auditor-General for the Federation, Mr. Anthony Ayine, over his failure to disclose details of N57.62bn Federal Government grants and contributions given in 2017.
The amount was given by the Federal Government as grants and contribution to domestic and foreign governments, public and private owned companies, academic institutions and internationals agencies.
Ayine in his audit report on the account of Ministries, Departments and Agencies of government explained that the breakdown and details of the grants and contributions were not presented to his office for audit.
This, he noted, contravened the provisions of International Public Sector Accounting Standards 24 which deals with presentation of budget information in financial statements.
A copy of the report, which had already been submitted to the Public Accounts Committee of the National Assembly was made available to our correspondent in Abuja.
A number of major weaknesses and lapses in the management of public funds and resources were identified across several Ministries, Departments and Agencies during the annual audit.
The findings range from irregular expenditures to failure to surrender surplus revenues to the Treasury, all running into billions of naira.
Also notable was the continuing failures in the implementation of International Public Sector Accounting Standards.
Overall, the findings were indicative of significant weaknesses in expenditure control, accounting, financial reporting and in the completeness and accuracy of the consolidated financial statements.
Specifically, Ayine said non-disclosure of details of Federal Government grants and contributions would cast doubt on the authenticity and actual usage of such grants and contributions.
He specifically noted that incomplete disclosure of budgeted figures might result in extra-budgetary expenditures.
Ayine in the report stated that while the Accountant General was requested to disclose beneficiaries of grants and contributions for the 2017 year fiscal period, he responded that the list would be made available to the Auditor-General on March 18, 2019.
However, the Auditor General said that as of the time the audit report was prepared, there was no receipt of the list of beneficiaries from the Accountant-General.
The report read in part, “The budgetary provision for grants and contribution was not disclosed in the notes to the accounts.
“The sum of N57,624,929,461.05 was granted by the Federal Government of Nigeria as grants and contribution which represent transfers to domestic and foreign governments, public and private owned companies, academic institutions and internationals for 2017.
“Non-disclosure of details of Federal Government Grants and Contributions will cast doubt on the authenticity and actual usage of such grants and contributions.”
The Registrar, Institute of Finance and Control of Nigeria, Mr Godwin Eohoi, said the findings of the audit report should be investigated by the Public Account Committee of the National Assembly and necessary action taken against those that committed the infractions.
He said the collaboration of the Public Accounts Committee, the anti-corruption agencies, and non- governmental organisations was vital in holding government accountable in the management of the country’s resources.
He said, “We need sound financial control system in the public sector to be able to check many infractions.
“A financial system that lacks strong internal control mechanism would be prone to abuses and that is what we are seeing in the public sector.”