The Office of the Auditor-General for the Federation is a separate and independent entity whose existence, powers, duties and responsibilities are provided for under section 85 of the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria 1999.
Section 85(2) of the Constitution of the Federation Republic of Nigeria 1999, provides that the Public Accounts of the Federation and of all Offices and Courts of the Federation shall be audited and reported on by the Auditor-General who shall submit his report to the National Assembly; and for that purpose, the Auditor-General or any person authorized by him in that regard shall have access to all the books, records, returns and other documents relating to those accounts.
Similarly, section 85(4) of the Constitution stipulate that the Auditor-General shall have power to conduct Periodic Checks on all Government statutory corporations, commissions, authorities, agencies, including all persons and bodies established by an Act of the National Assembly. Furthermore, Section 301 vests the Auditor-General of the Federation with the power to audit the account of Area Councils in the Federal Capital Territory.
Section 85(6) of the 1999 Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, states that “in the exercise of his function under the Constitution, the Auditor General shall not be subject to the direction or control of any other authority or person”.
THE PUBLIC ACCOUNTS COMMITTEE
In accordance to Section 85(5) of the 1999 Constitution, the Auditor-General shall, within 90 days of receipt of the Accountant General’s financial statement, submit his Report to each House of the National Assembly (The Senate and the House of Representatives); and each House shall cause the Report to be considered by a Committee of the House of the National assembly responsible for Public Accounts.
The main function of the Public Accounts Committees is to review whether public money was spent or not for the approved purpose and with due regard to efficiency, economy and effectiveness. Much of its work is based on the Auditor-General’s Report. The Committees hold public sittings to review Audit findings. These public sittings are usually attended by the Auditor-General and his team as well as the Accounting Officer (Permanent secretary) of the audited Ministry or Office. The Ministry or Office is expected to defend itself on issue(s) reported on and explain what they have done in respect to the Report.