INTERNAL AUDIT DEPARTMENT – FEDERAL MINISTRY OF EDUCATION
Our Vision Statement
To deploy the latest tools in office automation for rapid completion of auditing tasks in compliance with principles, policies and procedures guidelines, financial regulations and accounting codes. This is to ensure a robust monitoring and evaluation framework that clearly articulates sound Public Financial Management systems, processes and practices.
Our Mission Statement
Our mission is to provide an independent, objective assurance and advisory activity designed to add value and improve the Ministry’s operations. This we intend to achieve by positioning and strengthening internal control mechanisms for superior service delivery in order to guarantee all round educational development for our teeming youths as a nation.
Until March 12, 2014, Internal Audit was a Unit; but by Federal Treasury Circular Ref. No. TRY A3&B3/2014 OAGF/CAD/026/V.1/218 from the Office of the Accountant-General of the Federation it was upgraded to a full Department with two (2) main Divisions namely:
a) Prepayment/System Audit, and
b) Budget Monitoring/Forensic Audit.
The Internal Audit Department of the Ministry is charged with the functions of measuring and evaluating the effectiveness of all the Internal Control Systems in the Federal Ministry of Education. The conduct of the monitoring and evaluation are facilitated by the staff in the Department of Internal Audit. These officers’ activities, duties and functions are recognized in the relevant administrative books of the nation including Financial Regulations and Treasury Circulars.
The Internal Control Systems have their operational basis as enshrined in Financial Regulations 1703 which states:
“The Internal Audit Director will be directly responsible to the Accounting Officer for a detailed audit of the accounts and records and for the examination of the systems and procedures in force. Initially he will submit to the Accounting Officer a detailed program of audit and thereafter he will report monthly to the Accounting Officer on the progress of the Audit. He will also issue special reports, if necessary, when, in his opinion, the attention of the Accounting Officer and of the Accountant-in-charge must be called to any irregularity in the accounting records, or to an apparent weakness in the accounting procedure, or to any apparent in- attention to the reports of the Auditor-General, or to earlier internal audit report(s) issued by him”.
This provision shall also be enhanced by other controls established by Management through extant regulations for the purpose of providing a complete and continuous audit of the accounts and records of revenue and expenditure, assets, allocated stores and unallocated stores both of the headquarters, all the Federal Unity Schools, the Federal Universities and other Parastatals under the Ministry by attaining the objectives set out by the Internal Audit Guidelines of 2011.
i. Enforcing compliance with laid-down principles and procedures. This is particularly so when it concerns disbursement of cash.
ii Monitoring enforcement and compliance, ensuring that things are done how and when they should be done; no side tracking of laid-down principles and procedures.
Draw the attention of the Permanent Secretary to:
i. Deficiencies in the organization of system of control
ii. Instance of overlapping functions, checking of wastage or other inefficiencies.
iii. Making suggestion for improvement as appropriate and necessary.
(c) Test Checking:
Carry out special check to test as may be necessary to confirm compliance with the laid down rules, regulation and submission of regular reports to the Accounting Officer.
i. Production of Management Reports.
ii. Production of statutory reports to OAuGF and OAGF.
The accomplishment of these objectives will require the Department to perform the following functions.
a) Undertake comprehensive pre-auditing of all payments and receipts vouchers;
b) Appraise progressively the soundness, adequacy and application of the internal control systems;
c) Ascertain the extent to which the system of internal control ensures compliance with the Financial Rules, Regulations and extant Treasury Circulars, policies and procedures;
d) Ascertain that the system of internal control promotes the efficient and effective use of resources at Headquarters and the 104 Federal Unity Schools;
e) Ascertain that the system of internal control operates to ensure that the assets are properly controlled and safeguarded from losses arising from fraud, irregularity or corruption;
f) Ascertain that there are adequate controls to ensure reliability of accounting and other information as a basis for producing accounts and for financial, statistical and other returns;
g) Ascertain that there is an adequate internal control system to ensure the integrity and reliability of financial and other information provided to the Permanent Secretary, the Accounting Officer;
h) Confirm compliance with laws, regulations and Government Guidelines guiding expenditure of Public Funds;
i) Identify all aspects of control systems on which it intends to rely and develop a review cycle especially as it affects the functions of the Principal Officers in the Unity Schools and Zonal Offices;
j) Evaluate those systems, identify inappropriate and inadequate controls and recommend improvements in procedures and practices based on best practice;
k) Recommend and advise on value-for-money and efficient improvements as evident from reviews performed;
l) Ensure transparency, probity and accountability in the government expenditure process by liaising with the management;
m) Prepare periodic (monthly, quarterly, half-yearly and yearly) reports and any other report that would be required from time to time; and
n) Carry out any other duties as may be assigned by the Accounting Officer.
The Department has recorded substantial achievements in the area of auditing every cost and spending Centre of the Ministry down to the 104 Federal Unity schools. The pre-audit activities in the schools were facilitated by the posting of Resident Internal Auditors (RIAs) to some of the schools while post-payment audit is conducted in schools without RIAs by Staff of the Department from the headquarter. This has made it possible for the Department to render timely reports on the activities in the schools and the Head Office. It is also worthy to note that the hitherto very high incidences of Public Account Committee (PAC) queries have significantly reduced as most of the reasons for the previous queries are now being addressed through the conduct of a reasonable percentage of pre-payment audit. The Department has also been able to prepare, present and work with its approved Internal Audit Program. Following the collective and collaborative efforts of the Department and in addition to the cooperation from Management staff of the Ministry, the following are the specific achievements of the Internal Audit Department occasioned by the enhanced status of the Department:
a) Management Audit;
b) Value-for-Money Audit;
c) Ensuring the preparation of periodic Audit Reports;
d) Timely Pre-payment Audit of Overhead Vouchers;
e) Timely Pre-payment Audit of Contact Payment Vouchers;
f) Investigation of reported cases of fraud, embezzlement and loss of Government funds;
g) Auditing of stores and ensuring the update of stores records and Purchases
h) Complete and continuous Audit of Accounts Records and Internally Generated Revenue (IGR) Books;
i) Introduction of safeguards for the prevention and prompt detection of fraud and loss of government funds;
j) Ensuring the adequacy of internal control system in place;
k) Ensuring pre-payment audit of the 104 Federal Unity Schools Books of Accounts and Records;
l) Prompt monitoring and assessment of the implementation of policies and extant rules;
m) Assisting the Management to achieve the overall mandate of the Ministry within the stipulated period;
n) Advising the Management on the appropriateness of adhering to the Appropriation Act in spending Government funds;
o) Total reduction in the number of negative Federal Audit Reports and PAC queries of the Ministry;
p) Posting of Resident Internal Auditors (RIAs) to Federal Unity Schools (FUCs). This has strengthened the internal control compliance in the Schools and the application of pre-payment audit;
q) Rendition of timely reports on the activities of the Headquarters activities and the 104 Federal Unity Schools; and
r) Use of Internal Audit Program for yearly Internal Audit activities.
Notwithstanding of all of the above enumerated achievements, it is instructive to note that FR 1701(iii) states:
“The existence of an Internal Audit Department shall not divest any member of the ministry or extra-ministerial office and other arms of government of the individual responsibilities placed upon him, neither shall it obviate the necessity for normal departmental checks”.
a) Inadequate Office Accommodation as Officers are congested in few offices without sufficient sitting arrangements.
b) Limited training and capacity building opportunities for Departmental staff in this era of constant financial management and public sector reforms and policy changes.
c) Insufficient Funding: The Department is grossly underfunded and is crying for more funding to enhance the Department’s operational capabilities and impact positively on its overall efficiency and productivity.
To effectively position the Department, strengthen and enhance efficiency and quality service delivery that would meet the evolving and dynamic changes in the use and application of Government resources through the support of all relevant Departments. Funding constraint is undoubtedly a critical limiting factor in the discharge of our assigned statutory responsibility; and its availability along with the dedicated staff of the Department will help drive the Internal Audit Department process effectively.
In Pursuance of this Administration’s drive to ensure prudent management of available resources, accountability, efficiency and transparency in all facets of the Ministry, the Internal Audit Department (IAD) wishes to remind all concerned of the foregoing measures and solicit their support and cooperation to fulfill the Operational Mandate of the Ministry.
Internal Audit can play an important assurance role in the Ministry, particularly in the area of Risk Management and Control. In many Ministries, the expectations placed upon Internal Audit have increased and the function is being relied on to make a significant contribution to achieving organization’s goals.
The responsibilities of the Internal Auditor include the following:
a) Evaluation, sustenance and constant review of internal control system with a view to identifying area of non-compliance and loop holes;
b) Checking, monitoring and auditing of the books of accounts and CBN (Bank) Statements as the case may be;
c) Ensuring strict compliance with procedures, circulars, guidelines and other regulations on the conduct of Government Business; and
d) Verification and pre-payment inspection of projects and purchases/ procurements.
It is believed that these guidelines, if diligently implemented, will lead to a significant improvement in the performance of Internal Auditors in ensuring transparency, accountability and good governance in the Public Service.
Internal Audit Department,
Federal Ministry of Education, Abuja.