The Bursar of the University of Ibadan (UI), Michael Alatise has claimed that the reason behind the university’s failure to submit audited financial statements for twelve years was because its external auditor became blind and later died while preparing the accounts.
Members of House Committee on Public Accounts were shocked when Mr Alatise, revealed that.
The lawmakers however discovered that the deceased Auditor was still being paid his retainership fee by the University as at last year after the incident in 2008.
Angered by the submission of the UI Bursar, the Committee ordered full investigation into financial status of the university.
When Alatise made the submission, committee members were initially bemused, but later frowned at the excuse, saying they assumed the University was dealing with a firm and not an individual.
According to the lawmakers, that the Principal Partner of the Audit firm was struck with blindness should not truncate the process as there were other staff in the organisation.
Responding to the Bursar’s claim, the Chairman of the Committee, Mr Wole Oke, said: “That somebody went blind does not mean that the firm will go into extinction.
“And sincerely speaking, it is not palatable that from 2014 to date, the University of Ibadan does not have an account with the Auditor-General.
“You won’t get money in the next budgetary allocation.”
Another member of the committee commented on the continuous renewal of the retainer ship of the accounting firm by the university: “If for any reason you renew, it is one-year renewal.
“This university cannot be talking about 2014 of issues that have been there since 2009.
“The man’s tenure had expired in 2008 and if for any reason you had to renew it for him, it also expired in 2009.
“So, if the man went blind in 2008 and then you renewed for him in 2009, and then the firm had issues and you still renewed for him in 2010, and till 2020 you are still renewing for a man who was blind in 2008, I think we should not be taken for a joke.”
But Alatise said the auditor’s tenure expired in 2010.
He added that the university employed the services of another auditor thereafter but that one got stuck in his work.
“It was the new external auditor that was having problems.
“He had to go to his (old auditor’s) house several times because there were some figures that needed to be cleared.”
EduCeleb.com recalls that the office of the Auditor-General of the Federation had in its reports revealed that more ministries, departments and agencies had been defaulting in the submission of their audit reports in recent years.
Section 85 of the Nigerian 1999 constitution mandates an audit of the accounts of public institutions and submitting same to the National Assembly within six months of the year ending.
The last audit report was of 2017, which was released in December, 2019.
265 agencies failed to submit theirs for 2017 and no less than 160 didn’t in 2016.
This worrisome trend had led to the house committee probing into the reasons behind the defaulting government parastatals and agencies failed to do so.