By Chika Otuchikere
The Accountant-General of the Federation (AGF), Mr. Ahmed Idris has warned government ministries, departments and agencies (MDAs) that are in the habit of rejecting Treasury Staff posted to them to desist from such or be ready to face the consequences of their action.
Mr Idris said that among other things, such MDAs will ultimately be denied access to the public payment platform manned by the Office of the Accountant-General of the Federation.
The AGF gave the warning in Abuja when he received the management team of the National Agency for Science and Engineering Infrastructure, (NASENI) led by its Acting Executive Vice Chiarman/ Chief Executive, Dr. Aliyu Maje Adanan.
Idris wondered why some agencies, who rely on the Accountant General of the Federation for releases of funds to implement their plans and programmes will in turn reject Treasury officers sent to them to help them manage their finances effectively.
“The office of the Accountant-General of the Federation has been vested with the mandate of handling all payments and receipts on behalf of government. It should be noted that Treasury staff have been specially trained and equipped to perform these functions in MDAs in line with Financial Regulations and extant rules”, the AGF maintained.
“The principle of transparency and accountability, which this administration stands for must be seen in practical terms and in line with international best practices. Accordingly, these principles do not allow one to be a judge in his own case.
“It is the role of Treasury officers to manage the Finance and Accounts Departments as well as the Internal Audit Units in MDAs. As long as you receive public funds from government, you must allow the Treasury officers to manage operations of the system and application of the funds”, he emphasized.
The AGF further explained that Internal Auditors are sent to MDAs to ensure that funds are spent in line with laid down procedures and due processes.
Ability of the Internal Auditor to perform his function as expected is predicated on his independence; which must be practical in the real sense of the word.
He added that “the Auditor cannot be said to be independent when he is employed by and paid by the same organisation, and this leads to compromise”.