Even as the Seventh Session of the National Assembly gradually wind up the House of Representatives has passed a bill to repeal the Audit Act of 1956 and Re-Enact the Audit Act of 2014.
The new bill titled “An Act for the establishment of the Office of the Auditor For the Federation, Audit Service Commission, Additional Powers and Functions of Auditor General and For Matters Connected Therewith” was jointly sponsored by Hon. Solomon Adeola Public Accounts Committee and the Committee on Justice.
The passage followed a presentation of the Report of the Committee of Public Accounts and Justice by Hon. Adeola and the successful consideration of the report by a committee of the whole House and an accelerated third reading of the bill.
The Deputy Speaker of the House,Hon Emeka Ihedioha who presided over plenary set up a conference committee headed by Senator Elect, Hon. Adeola to liaise with the Senate for concurrence on the passed bill.
Commenting on the passage of the bill, Senator Elect Adeola who championed the repeal of the archaic and inadequate audit laws said it is regrettable that the laws guiding our audit process in government is outdated without commensurate powers for the Auditor General to function effectively adding that some penalties are as ridiculous as asking defaulters to pay 2shillings as fine.
“The passed bill will give more powers to the Auditor General as well as established an Audit Service Commission to take care of recruitment, training and other welfare issues of auditing staff of Auditor General’s Office. It also increased penalties to hundreds of thousands” he said.
He said his experience as the Chairman of the Public Accounts Committee shows that a major impediment of the functioning of the Office of Auditor General is the outdated and inadequate laws that it has to work with adding that with the passage of the new Audit Bill the important oversight and anti- corruption functions of the auditor will be brought to the fore through granting of autonomy from the executive to the office.