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Senate committee summons Auditor-General over unaudited immigration account

The Senate Committee on Finance has summoned the Auditor-General for the Federation, Mr Aghughu Arhotomhenia, over the failure to audit accounts of the Nigeria Immigration…

The Senate Committee on Finance has summoned the Auditor-General for the Federation, Mr Aghughu Arhotomhenia, over the failure to audit accounts of the Nigeria Immigration Service (NIS) since 2017.

The panel specifically asked Arhotomhenia to appear before it next week Tuesday to explain reasons it had not given guidelines for the auditing of NIS accounts since 2017 despite repeated letters from immigration to provide the guidelines.

Senator Solomon Adeola (APC, Lagos West), the chairman of the Senate Committee on Finance, gave the directive when the Controller General of Immigration, Mr Mohammed Babandede, appeared before the committee’s investigation of remittances of internally generated revenue (IGR) and 1% Stamp Duty on all contracts by MDAs into the Consolidated Revenue Fund.

The Chairman of the Fiscal Responsibility Commission, Barrister Victor Muruako, had disclosed to the committee that his agency had not received the audited accounts of NIS since 2017 contrary to the Fiscal Responsibility Act 2007 among other infractions.

In his response, Mr Babandede stated that there have been no guidelines from Auditor General’s Office despite repeated official requests from the NIS, adding that the unaudited accounts over the years had just been launched by the Minister of Interior.

The Immigration boss further disclosed that the revenue-generating operations of the agency are under a public-private partnership(PPP) arrangement that he inherited with a sharing formula agreement that cannot be readily renegotiated or cancelled in the foreseeable future leaving the agency to remit only about 20 per cent of revenue generated to the Federal Government.

Senator Adeola directed the Immigration boss to furnish the committee with a comprehensive account of its revenue and the sharing in specific terms as well as details of the partners in the PPP deal as the committee intends to interact with the partners in presence of the Immigration.

“There is a need to seriously interrogate the PPP arrangement and its duration as it seems to be an unending denial of needed revenue for Nigeria.

“A situation where partners collect 70%, leaving Immigration and Federal Government to share 30% over the unending period of time is looking more like a Pick Pocket Partnership arrangement for Nigeria that should be remedied,” he stated.

The lawmaker said, with the experience of Nigeria on PPP arrangement on the issue of passport and other immigration documents, there is a need for the National Assembly to come up with legislation to guide and regulate such partnerships as the present ad hoc system is shortchanging the Federal Government.