UPDATE: Our auditor went blind while working on UI accounts, Bursar tells Reps

The Bursar of the University of Ibadan, Michael Alatise, on Thursday told the House of Representatives Committee on Public Accounts chaired by Rep. Oluwole Oke, that the University could not submit its audited accounts to the Auditor-General of the Federation over the years as the external Auditor working on the Institution’s accounts went blind and died while preparing the audited accounts leaving the job uncompleted.

This was just as the lawmakers discovered that the said blind external Auditor was still being paid retainership by the University as recent as last year.

The panel upon hearing this expressed shock, saying that the Bursar was taking the House, and by extension, the country for a ride, just as it ordered a full investigation into the University’s activities.

The committee members were initially bemused, but later frowned at the excuse saying that they assumed the University was dealing with a firm and not an individual.

According to the lawmakers, that the principal partner of the Audit firm was struck with blindness should not truncate the process as there were other staff in the organisation.

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The Chairman of the Committee, Hon Oke, who looked worried by the revaluation said, “that somebody went blind does not mean that the firm will go into extinction. It can’t. And sincerely speaking, it is not palatable that from 2014 to date, the University of Ibadan does not have an account with the Auditor-General. No! You won’t get money in the next budgetary allocation.

Another member of the committee noted that “If for any reason you renew, it is one-year renewal. This university cannot be talking about 2014 of issues that have been there since 2009. The man’s tenure had expired in 2008 and if for any reason you had to renew for him, it also expired in 2009.

“So, if the man went blind in 2008 and then, you renewed for him in 2009, and then the firm had issues and you still renewed for him in 2010, and till 2020 you are still renewing for a man who was blind in 2008. I think we should not be taken for a joke.”

But Alatise said the auditor’s tenure expired in 2010, “so we had a new auditor. It was the new external auditor that was having problems; he had to go to his (old auditor) house several times because there were some static figures that needed to be cleared.

“The document came to the audit committee of council several times, so it delayed the work of the current auditor.”

The following conversation ensued between the Chairman of the Committee and the Bursar:

Oke: “The new auditor, I hope he has not gone blind?”

Bursar: “Actually, they are on their last account, which is 2015. We are about to engage another audit firm next week, 13th of this month, the auditor “actually completed the 2009/2010 account. But then, the newly engaged auditor had problems with the account. They wanted to interact with him, that was where the lacuna came in.”

Chairman: “You have an audited account signed and ratified in place, why did you need a blind man to take over from there? Besides, you are not dealing with him as a person, you are dealing with a firm. So, he has a partner, he has workers.

“And for UI to engage such a firm, okay, let it conduct a KYC, (Know Your Customer). Let us know who the firm is. Let us investigate the firm. Let us know the partners and workers in that firm.”

Alatise said: “Candidly speaking, we are on a hot seat. I wish that the bursary team would watch this video live. As a bursar, I have been worried about accounts.”

Consequently, the Committee stepped the enquiry down and opted for a full investigation of the finances of the university.

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