President Muhammadu Buhari on Tuesday expressed disappointment with the audit reports produced by the various states in the country, saying the reports are not true reflection of happenings in the states.
He said there are huge cases of funds misappropriation across the states and described as bizarre, the clean bill of health given to the states by the auditors.
Buhari, who stated these at the second edition of the conference of auditors-general in Nigeria in Abuja, said the anti-graft war would not succeed until all tiers of government and indeed the generality of Nigerians decided to join the fight against corruption.
He argued that with the reports churned out from the states, one can correctly assume that there was collusion among the state actors and the auditors.
The President said the government’s expectation for the future was to see audits conducted at all tiers of government with more impactful findings.
He said: “I am aware there is already a programme under World Bank assistance to help all State Audit Offices in this regard.
“To emphasize the issue of quality in audit, I ask you to reflect on the following: Has any annual financial statements produced by any of the states received anything other than a clean audit opinion as far back as you can remember?
“You will admit this is strange, in view of the significant cases of misappropriation that have been uncovered, the huge balances that have been recovered and the sentences being served by convicted officials including past state governors.
“One can either assume the audits are not thoroughly done, the auditors have been compromised, or the auditors are constrained in some way or other.”
The President told the auditors he expects audit institutions to be able to report the amount of financial impacts and savings they have achieved for their government, along with non-financial impacts.
He said, “I expect to see better and greater collaboration between your institutions and other anti-corruption agencies. I expect your audit reports to be current and of a high quality.
He declared that the administration was fully aware of the value that audit and scrutiny brings to the performance of governance functions, saying as the Federal Government rolls out its development plan, it is conscious that regular and constant monitoring of its performance would be crucial in achieving the plans.
“We know that Ministries, Departments, and Agencies (MDAs) charged with delivery of activities that impact the lives of Nigerians can all monitor and report their own performance, but the most reliable measure is accurate and independent assessment by external auditors. This is one key reason why all tiers of government in Nigeria needs a strong external audit function,” he concluded.