At last, after much expectations, the Chairman, Senate Committee on Appropriation, Senator Danjuma Goje, on Tuesday presented the report of the 2016 budget on the floor of the upper chamber and also the 2014 audit reports.
The Appropriation report was not debated and no date was assigned for its debate and passage into law.
Senate Leader, Senator Mohammed Ali Ndume presented the audit report entitled “Accounts of the Federation of Nigeria.”
Ndume asked the Senate to “receive the Annual Report of the Auditor-General for the Federation on the accounts of the Federation of Nigeria for the year ended 31st December, 2014 in accordance with section 85(2) and (5) of the constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, 1999 (as amended).
Submitted to the Assembly by the Auditor-General of the Federation, Mr. Samuel Ukura, it indicted several ministries, departments and agencies including the National Assembly management.
The report claimed that more than N3.3 trillion was misappropriated by the MDAs and the National Assembly.
Chairman, Senate Committee on Media and Public Affairs, Senator Aliyu Sabi Abdullahi, had assured that the Senate will investigate every bit of the audit report.
Abdullahi disclosed that consideration of the audit report is part of the statutory function of the parliament.
The Senate Committee on Public Account, he said, would dig into the report; invite those queried to ask for clarification before coming to conclusion.
He said that the 8th Senate would make the difference by painstakingly considering the report to establish its veracity.
He asked Nigerians to wait and see what the Senate would make out of the audit report.
“The Eight Senate has chosen to be different as we have stated severally since we came on board and for which we came up with our legislative agenda to make us different from the past because we are in the season and period of change and we want to seriously key in to that.
“Along that line, you could see the courage that we have to make some differences from what has obtained in the past and to this note, we have passed reports of some committees like the Treasury Single Account (TSA), which is a classical example.
“Through that exercise, we were able to save the country, N7billion. There are similar works that has been done.
“We want to say that since we have chosen to be different, we urge Nigerians to wait and see what we will make out of the investigation.
“Without holding forth for the past assemblies, I want to say that it is not as if they did not do anything about the past Audit Reports.
“But perhaps they have not taken their action up to the scale that would have made a huge impact that people want to see. If that is what the Auditor – General means, I agree with him.
“The Auditor – General is raising a query, it is not an indictment. So when he raises his queries, the essence of the Public Accounts Committee is to invite those parties involved in the query and through the instruments of their own work, investigate all the issues by seeking for clarification and at the end of the day, where they have infractions, or infringement on certain procedures, they met out appropriate sanctions as stipulated by extant rules and regulations.
“When there is a process and someone has done one part, until we conclusively finish that process, it will be wrong to accuse anyone of being guilty.
“These are administrative procedures and the Senate President, Bukola Saraki, has made it clear that we would take oversight functions far more serious than what it used to be in the past.
“If oversight functions are carried out properly, some of these queries that we talk about will begin to reduce because the essence is to see infractions before they happen.
“We as lawmakers will stop it before another institution discovers the anomalies and bring them to our notice.
“These are the powers of the National Assembly through oversight functions. We are committed to ensuring that a thorough job is done this time.
“We have demonstrated our capacity to match our words with our actions. Wait and see, it is a promise and we have four years to prove that we mean business.”