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Auditor-General denies illegal withdrawal of N10 billion from NHIS account

Anthony Mkpe Ayine

The Auditor-General of the Federation, Mr. Anthony Ayine, Monday, described as false and mischievous, allegations that he connived with Vice President Yemi Osinbajo to illegally withdraw N10 billion from the account of the National Health Insurance Scheme, NHIS.

In a statement from the Office of the Auditor-General of the Federation, OAUGF, in Abuja, Ayine said in the allegation, it was stated that the first withdrawal of N5 billion from the NHIS account was made by Osinbajo and himself, in December 2016, noting that he actually resumed office in January 2017.

According to him, the whole allegation, therefore, is not only illogical, highly embarrassing, scandalous, frivolous and unreasonable, but it is also calculated to smear the OAuGF and the person of the Auditor-General for the Federation, Mr. Anthony Ayine, tarnish and discredit his hard-earned reputation.

He, therefore, advised the general public to completely ignore and disregard the libellous publication in its entirety as a mere fiction of the imagination of the authors, which is self-seeking and not for public good or interest.

The Auditor-General further stated that while the motivation behind this publication may not be known, it clearly displays either that the author was completely ignorant of the role and responsibilities of the Auditor-General for the Federation, or that the publication is done out of mischief for no just cause.

He said, “To put the records straight, and for the benefits of the public, we state the following facts: That the role and responsibilities of the AuGF are to audit the nation’s accounts and report to the National Assembly; the Auditor-General for the Federation has no Powers whatsoever to authorise withdrawal nor does he have any business withdrawing money from the NHIS or any other ministry, department or agency (MDA) of government.

“The AuGF, Mr. Anthony Ayine, was only appointed in January 2017, and could not have withdrawn any money in December 2016 as claimed. Ever since his appointment as Auditor-General for the Federation, Mr. Anthony Ayine has never been a Board Member or an Officer of the NHIS; nor has he ever been a signatory to any Bank Accounts operated by the NHIS.

“The Powers and Responsibilities of the Auditor-General for the Federation of Nigeria are enshrined in the 1999 Constitution (as amended), and are clearly spelt out.”

Ayine explained that the Constitution did not give the Auditor-General any Powers or rights to authorise withdrawal of any money or monies in accounts of any Ministries, Departments and Agencies, MDA, of government, whatsoever, adding also that the auditor-general has no direct reporting relationship with the Vice President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria.

According to him, the OAuGF has no business with either withdrawal or granting authority for the withdrawal of money in MDAs in Nigeria.

He said: “Such irresponsible online publication is a calculated attempt to deceive the public and to tarnish the image of the Auditor-General for the Federation and the Vice President, and must be condemned by all and sundry.

“The public is assured that the integrity of the Office of the Auditor-General for the Federation, and indeed, that of the Auditor-General for the Federation, Mr. Anthony Ayine, which has been applauded both nationally and internationally, for the professionalism in discharging the constitutionally assigned responsibilities, remains intact.”

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