Members of the Senate Public Account Committee have commenced the probe of a former Accountant General of the Federation Ahmed Idris, for unilaterally signing N26trn Nigeria’s financial statement in 2019 without the approval of the then Minister of Finance, Hajia Zainab Ahmed.
Disclosing this while considering the financial statement of the federation for the 2019 fiscal year, the Senate panel chaired by Senator Ahmed Wadada, confirmed that the total Federal Government financial liabilities for 2019 was N26.2 trillion.
The violation was contained in the 2019 report of the Auditor General for the federation report, which was submitted to the National Assembly.
Part of the AuGF report read: “The Accountant-General of the Federation was the only officer of the Federal Government of Nigeria that signed the consolidated statement of financial position without indicating his Financial Reporting Council of Nigeria registration number component that carries the approval of the Cash Flow Statement (CFS) contrary to the extant regulation.
“There was no signature with FRC of Nigeria registration number of the Honorable Minister of Finance, Budget and National Planning on the Consolidated Statement of the Financial Position.
“The above anomalies could be attributed to weakness in the internal control system in the consolidation process.”
The chairman of the Senate panel however expressed concerns over the issue raised in the AuGF report and asked the Accountant General of the Federation to respond to the allegation.
Meanwhile, the acting AuGF, Toyin Madein, noted that she was not in the position at the time the financial statement in question was signed.
“I was not the Accountant General at the time of signing the financial statement,” she said.
It was gathered that the reason for the introduction of co-signing of the financial statement was to ensure proper accountability and transparency.
However, It was also discovered that between 2018 and 2019, the Federal Government migrated cash basis to an actual basis.
It was the standard for accrual accounts, that the Finance Minister and the Accountant General should co-sign the financial statement.
The AuGF noted that based on the nation’s financial regulations, “The President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria had assigned to the Minister of Finance the responsibility for all financial business of the government of the Federation.
“Paragraph 105 of the FR empowers the Minister of Finance to issue from time to time financial regulations, which are of general applications to ministries, extra-ministerial offices and other arms of government.
“By implication, the Honourable Minister of Finance in Nigeria is the Chief Executive Officer (CEO) on government financial matters.”