Speaker of the Akwa Ibom state House of Assembly, Rt. Hon. Onofiok Luke has declared as false, recent claims by the Special Adviser to the President on National Assembly Matters (Senate), Sen Ita Enang, that the state government has “not brought to the notice of Akwa Ibom people” its financial statements.
Luke said the Akwa Ibom State government has consistently made public its financial statements, citing the report of the state Accountant General with Financial Statements for the year ended 31st December 2015 as an instance.
He made the reaction while flagging off the consideration of the 2016 report of the Auditor General by the Public Accounts Committee of the Akwa Ibom state House of Assembly.
“Questions have been asked about the accounts of the state. While I am not speaking on behalf of the executive, I would like to speak on behalf of the state legislature which vetted the 2015 account of the state and, based on what we found, unanimously made further approvals. Over the weekend, I saw a publication wherein claims were made about monies that the state government had received from 2015 to 2017 and what those monies have been used for.
“The report of the Accountant General with Financial Statements for the year ended 31st December 2015 is a reply to that document. When we conclude with this exercise, and by the time we come out with our own vetted version for 2016, we are going to have the document equally published for the 2016 account. This document contains what the government did with the monies that government received in the year 2015 and we are here to consider what government did with the money that was appropriated for the 2016 fiscal year.
“By the time we get to 2018, we will equally come to consider the account of 2017 and we are going to get it published. The content of the Accountant General Financial Statement answers to the query about our finances. I speak because we gave our stamp of authority to the audit report and that is why it is published. It was published in national dailies. Also, the publication of the audited account of the state was one of the conditions for the state to access the budget support fund of the federal government. The content of this document include the auditor general’s certificate.
“We have statement of accounting policies, and we have a ten-year financial summary from 2006 to 2015. We have cash flow statement for 2015; we have statement of asset and liabilities of the state government 2015, and we have statement of consolidated revenue fund for the year 2015. We equally have statement of capital development fund for the year 2015. This is a public document and it answers to every query about what funds were being used for.”
Making references to section 125 sub 1 of the 1999 constitution, the state audit law, and the house standing order to emphasise the roles of the house of assembly and the procedures for state account auditing, Speaker Luke said he went through the legal frameworks “for us to know that all the procedures in considering the audited account of the state have been followed which is why we are here to do this consideration flag-off.”
He noted that the report of the auditor general on the account of the state is a major plank for public education on our state’s expenditure.