The House of Representatives, on Wednesday, accused the Minister of Finance, Zainab Ahmed, and other appointees of the President, Major General Muhammadu Buhari(retd), of undermining the government’s efforts to tame corruption in the system.
The chairman, Public Accounts Committee of the House, Hon. Wole Oke gave the reprimand during the 2023 budget defence session with the Office of the Auditor General of the Federation.
This however followed a disclosure by the Auditor General of the Federation, Andrew Onwudili that his office proposed a total budget of N11.151 billion for 2023 but the budget office approved and put N5.112 billion in the budget.
According to VANGUARD, The Auditor General said the office had proposed a personnel cost of N3.041 billion as against the N2.349 billion contained in the budget; also a proposal of N5.59 billion for overhead costs as against the N2.113 billion; and a proposal of N2.52 billion for capital expenditure as against the N62.70 million contained in the budget estimates.
The figures apparently infuriated the committee chairman who became furious with the authorities regarding the fiscal policies of the country, accusing them of doing little with what he called the supreme institution in the fight against corruption.
Oke said the office of the auditor general was supreme in the fight against corruption, stressing that the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission and the Independent Corruption Practices and Other Related Offences Commission were ancillary.
The committee, therefore, summoned the Minister of Finance, Zainab Ahmed; the Acting Accountant General of the Federation, Sylva Okolieaboh and the Director General, Budget Office the Federation, Ben Nwabueze; and the Head of Service, Folashade Yemi-Esan, giving 7 days ultimatum to appear and explain why the budget of such a strategic office be poor.
He said “It is very important at this point in time to state clearly observations. We want to observe that, the government of President Buhari was elected based on his promise, and determination to tame corruption, to humble corruption in our country.
“And one of the institutions, as a matter of fact, the fundamental institution which the crafters of our constitution put in place under Section 85 is the Office of the Auditor General of the Federation. By Act of the Parliament, we have created ancillary institutions like ICPC, EFCC to work with the products, with the findings of the Office of the Auditor General’s office after due consideration by the Parliament.
“It is very unfortunate that we have noticed the concerted effort, and determination to undermine the Office of the Auditor General of the Federation. To eradicate, to repeal illegally the supreme audit institution of this country. We have seen the determination of the lieutenants of Mr President, particularly the minister of finance, the DG Budget office to undermine Mr President in his determination to wage war against corruption on the land.”