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Published On: Mon, Jan 29th, 2018

Corruption: Senate vows to submit Audit Bill to Buhari before April

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senate-chamberBy Christiana Ekpa

As part of its commitment towards effective public account scrutiny in the country, the Senate committee on Public Account, at the weekend, vowed to submit Audit Bill, seeking administrative and financial autonomy for the Office of the Auditor General of the Federation, to President Muhammad Buhari before April this year.
Peoples Daily reports that the bill was passed by the House of Representatives in 2015, awaiting concurrence by the Senate, but did not see the light of the day in the red Chamber before the end of the seventh National Assembly
The Chairman of the Senate Committee on Public Account, Senator Matthew Urhoghide, disclosed this at a one day Senate Public Account Retreat for the concurrence of the bill in Abuja.
Urhoghide, who said the aim of the retreat was to concur to the resolution of the both houses, noted the expectation of the National Assembly has not been meet in terms of the fight against Corruption.
“The expectation of the National Assembly has not be meet. Corruption should not be check after it has been carried out, it should be checked from its roots.”
According to him, the Senate would not organize public hearing on the bill to avoid delay and time constraint.
“Every input will be screen upon by the two houses; and it has been agreed that there will be no need for public hearing on the bill; and we did this to avoid delay in passing of the bill.
“The bill will become law before the first half of the year. We will ensure that it happens; because that is the only way we can fight corruption,” he stressed.
Also speaking, Chairman of Public Accounts Committee in the House of Representatives, Hon. Kingsley Chinda, said the passage of the bill will entrench the administrative fight against corruption.
“We are here to show that we have agreement with the Senate on the bill. We will ensure that the bill sees the light of the day. This is our own contribution towards the fight against corruption, because you cannot fight corruption without reforming the office of the Auditor General
“There is need for the speedy passage and assent to the bill, so that it becomes a law, thereby empowering those institutions responsible in the anti-graft war. There is need to pass the bill and change our approach towards the fight against corruption. The AGF will also provide information to the EFCC, because from the audit report you will see obvious cases of corruption that are going on.
“Therefore, if the bill is passed, and the AGF office is recognized, it will be the beginning of the anti-corruption fight,” he reiterated.
In his remarks, the Auditor General of the Federation, Anthony Mkpe Ayine, said the close collaboration between the two houses will greatly enhance President Muhammadu Buhari’s war on corruption.
According to him, a positive conclusion of the assignment will provide a ground to strengthen Auditor General’s office, and build supreme auditing for Nigeria.
The AGF, who disclosed that Nigeria is using auditing Act of 60s, stressed that the outcome from the retreat will make a great impact.
In his word: “The independence of the office of the Auditor General will mark the end of corruption practices in the country. Nigeria is at the cross road; and public institutions need to be strengthen.”

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