By G9ija

Internal auditors in the country have canvassed independence to enable them to fight corruption, insisting that their lack of independence in federal establishments had hindered the fight against graft in the country.

They argued that some level of autonomy was necessary to fight corruption effectively due to the fact that they were subservient to the management of establishments under which they serve.x

The Forum of Heads of Internal Audit of Federal Tertiary Health Institutions, made the assertion at their 2020 yearly summit, which ended in Calabar, Cross River State, yesterday.

In a communiqué endorsed by the Chairman of the Forum at the end of the summit, Dr. Jackson Okpachul, recommended that internal auditors in federal establishments should be engaged by and report to the Accountant General of the Federation (AGF) as this would give them the level of independence needed to fight corruption effectively.

At the summit with the theme: “Corruption A Cancer In Society,” they urged the AGF to mandate the Chief Accounting Officers of ministries, departments, and agencies (MDAs) to give access rights to their internal auditors to view and review transactions on the Government Integrated Financial and Management Information System (GIFMIS).x

They also advocated the same for the Integrated Payroll and Personnel Information System (IPPIS) before payments could be made.

“Nepotism should be eradicated from the public system. Appointments and allocation of resources should be based on merit. We seek a robust internal control system in all government establishments to minimise corruption and opportunities for graft. Corrupt officials should be meted with stringent punishment to serve as a deterrent to others,” they stated.

The Forum during their annual summit visited the Obong of Calabar at his palace and the Federal Neuro-Psychiatric Hospital, Calabar where they expressed disappointment at the level of destruction of private and public property during the #EndSARS protests.

The auditors pleaded with the Federal Ministry of Health to urgently assist the Federal Neuro-Psychiatric Hospital in Calabar to address some of the decay at the facility.