Joy Mackson, Abuja
As tongues wag over the humongous amount of money reportedly spent on the management of the COVID-19 pandemic, the Auditor-General for the Federation (AuGF), Mr. Anthony Mkpe Ayine, has assured that the first part of an audit report on the disbursement of funds covering the period of March – June, 2020 will be released before the end of October, while subsequent reports are to be released quarterly.
Ayine made the disclosure on Wednesday in Abuja while addressing journalists at the end of a special recognition award presentation to him by the Conference of Auditors-General for the Local Governments and Area Councils in Nigeria.
On the level of work carried out as it relates to the audit of COVID-19 funds which are particularly vulnerable to corruption and have a high chance of being subject to waste and mismanagement, the AuGF said, “we have commenced the audit. In fact, we are about issuing the first interim report”.
He added: “Hopefully, by next week, the first interim report should be published. The first interim report coming out would be from the commencement of when the Presidential Task Force, PTF, for COVID-19, was established, up till June 30, 2020”.
Earlier during the award presentation ceremony, Ayine called for more collaboration between auditors at the Federal, State and Local Government/Area Council levels towards entrenching Accountability and Transparency in the Nigeria public service in line with the agenda of the President Muhammadu Buhari-led administration.
He said he felt honoured and highly humbled by the recognition of his efforts to ensure that Audit Institutions in the country deliver value, by promoting good governance through proper public financial management, and views the award as an encouragement to do more work.
The Auditor-General also tasked auditors to pay more attention to Performance Audit, explaining that some transactions that may pass the scrutiny of Financial and Regularity Audits may reveal infractions when Performance Audit is applied, and assured the body of the continuous support of his Office, especially in the area of capacity building.
Chairman of the Conference of Auditors-General for the Local Governments and Area Councils in Nigeria, Alhaji Atiku Musa, said the award was to specially acknowledge the AuGF for his reforms in the Office that have boosted specialization and professionalism and attracted foreign support to create an academy where staff are groomed, coached and mentored to acquire knowledge and build capacity to tackle emerging issues in the audit of public funds.
“Similarly, you have been able to bring to bear the high professional and skillful stuff that you are made of, by bringing the 74 Auditors-General in Nigeria together under one umbrella… Please accept our profound applause, and we pray for divine guidance, grace and strength,” he added.
The Conference thereafter made a presentation of a plaque and a handcrafted congratulatory card to Ayine.