The Senate has said the delay in signing the Federal Audit Service Commission Bill by President Muhammadu Buhari is encouraging corruption in the country.
The Chairman, Senate Committee on Public Affairs, Senator Mathew Urhoghide, stated this on Wednesday when the Office of the Auditor General of the Federation appeared before the panel to defend its 2020 budget.
Urhoghide said the current approach where government was spending a lot of money to fight corruption would be counter -productive if agencies that could prevent graft remained underfunded.
He said the 8th National Assembly passed the bill with the expectations that it would be signed in to law by the President.
Urhoghide said, “The bill is very important to the nation as passing it into law will form the bedrock for fighting corruption which is one of the cardinal objectives of Mr President’s administration.
“It will empower the Office of the Auditor General of the Federation who has the constitutional mandate of auditing all accounts of the federation to nip corruption in the bud and ensure transparency in government transactions.
He noted that the absence of legislation had weakened the powers of the Auditor General’s office to curb corruption in the ministries, department and agencies.
He said the bill, if signed into law, would make the office to function effectively.
He said, “Spending huge sums to fight corruption when nothing is being done to curb its manifestations in public establishments will not help us as a nation.”
The PDP lawmaker from Edo State said the absence of legislation was giving the MDAs the latitude to perpetrate graft.
Urhoghide said his committee would from next week start the consideration of the audit reports submitted by the Auditor General’s office from 2018 till date.
He said, “The inability of the National Assembly to consider the backlog of reports submitted to it by the Auditor General’s office is not good enough for the country.”
The National Assembly last year passed a bill for the establishment of Federal Audit Service Commission in line with the Muhammadu Buhari government’s anti-corruption fight.