By Tony Obiechina, Abuja
Accountant General of the Federation (AGF) Ahmed Idris on Wednesday warned that henceforth, sanctions await Heads of Internal Audits of Ministries Departments and Agencies(MDAs) for late or non-submission of audit reports to the Treasury.
The AGF gave the warning at a Webinar and virtual meeting organised for Directors and Heads of Internal Audits of MDAs in Abuja.
He noted that majority of government agencies had in the past wilfully refused to render reports which run counter to financial regulations.
“Regrettably, it has been observed that most MDAs are behind in their reports while others have wilfully refused to render these reports which are clear violation of the provision of the Financial Regulations”.
“Consequently, may I inform you that refusal to forward these reports by any MDA forthwith would be regarded as an attempt to undermine the authority of the Office of the Accountant-General of the Federation and the Head of Internal Audit of such defaulting MDA(s) will be duly sanctioned”.
Idris reiterated the need for Auditors to put in their reports promptly as and when due as specified by FR 1706 which states: “The Internal Auditor shall produce monthly, quarterly and half-yearly reports for the Accounting Officer on the progress of the audit with copies to the Accountant-General of the Federation and Auditor-General for the Federation” respectively”.
The AGF also said that the Office of the Accountant-General of the Federation in 2020, as part of the Public Financial Management Reforms, engaged a Consultant (Cowater International Inc.) with the objective of Modernizing the Internal Audit Function in the Public Sector and with the view of recommending measures to increase professional performance of Internal Auditors in accordance with Internationally recognized best practices.
According to him, some of the recommendations of the Consultants, include enhancing the effectiveness of internal audit functions and establishment of a professional cadre within the Public Service for Internal Auditors as against the current practice.
He disclosed that significant progress has been made towards the audit modernization project, which include, trainings of Audit Monitoring Department staff to assist in training other Internal Auditors on Computer Assisted Audit Techniques (CAAT).
Others are the establishment of an audit Data capturing centre with a view to securing an interface with the IPPIS and GIFMIS Platforms through which transaction can be viewed online-real-time.
He disclosed that to achieve this purpose, twenty laptops and 20 desktops computers have been acquired; while approval have also been granted for the acquisition of five Interactive Data Extract Analysis (IDEA) software Licences that would be used by the Audit Monitoring Department.
He explained that the IDEA software is a computer based file interrogation tool that can be used by numerous individuals and organisations including auditors, accountants, investigators and IT staff.
“It analyses data in multiple ways and allows for extraction, sampling and manipulation of data in order to identify errors, problems, specific issues and trends”, he said.
He further explained that it was in continuation of the Audit Modernization project that the audit Monitoring department is organising this interactive/sensitization session to bring to the knowledge of all Internal Auditors about the IDEA software, since it is meant to be deployed service-wide.
He added that Audit Modernization is a key component of the Economic Reform and Governance Project. It is upgrading the level of audit from current practices to a level where audits are conducted in line with international best practices, using modern approach and information and communication technologies.
He observed that the deployment of the IDEA software would enhance and optimise the internal control environment, and encouraged all MDAs concerned to key into this project by acquiring this software so as to speed-up the Internal Audit functions Modernization.