Chairman, Senate Committee on Public Account, Senator Matthew Urhoghide, has reiterated the committee’s stand that the best way to fight corruption is to prevent it from happening.
Urhoghide said most government agencies used to fight corruption do not have their accounts audited as stipulated by the Constitution which empowered the office of the Auditor-General to carry out audits of their accounts.
He said timely audit of public accounts enable the government to detect areas of expenditure for correction.
According to him, these agencies are not supposed to be funded in the next fiscal year because they were expected to have prepared and present their audited budget report six months into the new financial year and make same available to the legislature.
He said this when he addressed the media on the efforts of the committee at carrying out its mandate over the MDAs most of whom have not submitted their audited account to the Senate for legislative action.
He said the Public Accounts Committee in the Ninth Assembly will not take it lightly with ministries departments and agencies (MDAs) who fail to comply with the respect extant laws.
His words: “This is where we should go. We want to change the narratives and we need you the media so that every erring agency that is not playing by the rule you must support us.
“If this committee must do its job we need the media as partners.
We are starting that journey. A lot of the agencies that we have written to intimate us with the status have refused, we have been calling them they have refused.
“Most of these agencies of government to go and see the acts establishing them and go to the place where they write auditing of their account most of them it is there that six months into the new financial year they should submit their audited account.
“Some agencies have existed for 20 years they don’t have audited accounts even the ones that are fighting corruption their accounts are not audited. In other areas, there is no way you can collect money the succeeding year when you have not accounted for what you got the preceding year. It is only in Nigeria.
“We are getting the warning to whoever because there are no secret cows from the presidency to the smallest unit agency of Government as far as you are spending government money you must account for it and if you are not ready you must face the music.
“Most of these agencies have become moribund but they have an incompetent management team.
“You are aware that the account of the federation as presented by the auditor general of the Federation is audited and of course it is sent to the National Assembly.
“When it is sent to the national assembly the report is sent to the senate committee on the public account and the House Committee on the public account. This committee has the responsibility of evaluating all the presentations made by the auditor general.
“When that one is done of course we will now look at it agency by agency. These are not just ministries, departments and agencies but we are talking about even foreign missions, courts; from Supreme Court to high Court and others that enjoy funding at the federal level.
“So you can see the Public Accounts Committee is charged with the responsibility for overstating financial transactions of over 600 agencies of Government Urhoghide stated.