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Tension Mounts as Retiring AGF Schemes for Tenure Extension

By Matthew Dadiya, Abuja

Tension is brewing within the ranks and management of the Office of the Auditor General the Federation(AGF), following alleged moves by the retiring occupant of the office, Anthony M.

Ayeni to have his tenure extended by the Federal Government.

Ayeni, DAILY ASSET investigations revealed is due to retire from public service on October 25, when he is expected to attain the compulsory retirement age of 60.

By the extant Civil service rules and the constitutional provisions, the AGF is supposed to have tendered his letter of retirement on July 25 and ought to have proceeded on retirement leave. The AGF has however, stayed on the job and did not proceed on terminal leave, it was learnt.

DAILY ASSET checks revealed that although Ayeni is believed to have tendered his letter of retirement, the process has been shrouded in secrecy as his letter  as sources at the Civil Service Commission, Office of the Head of Civil Service of the Federation and the  Office of Secretary to the Government of the Federation(SGF) said the AGF’s letter could not be traced in the  system.

It was also found out that  the Chairman of the Public Accounts Committee of the House of Representatives, Hon Wale Oke were yet to be briefed by the imminent exit, a source close to the Committee chairman told DAILY ASSET.

According to the source,  the Chairman  and his committee members were all in the dark even though the AGF reports to the National Assembly through the Committee in the course of his duties as provided in the 1999 constitution as amended.

The source familiar told DAILY ASSET that Ayeni had deliberately kept his retirement processes as a matter of top confidentiality to enable him lobby his way to extension of tenure.

The source also pointed to the fact that Ayeni had continued to discharge his duties normally and has done nothing yet regarding his handing processes.

“The AGF has not briefed his Directors on the interim succession plans,” the source disclosed.

Similarly, the source disclosed that there was no arrangement yet for send-off ceremonies, with barely three weeks to the exit of the AGF.

The source explained that this was contrary to tradition, where elaborate arrangements went underway several weeks to the retirement date of  previous holders of the office.

Last week, Ayeni himself allegedly  gave a hint to his tenure extension plan when he told an international audience that his retirement “is not certain” even though he is supposed to have exited by October 25.

The AGF was a participant at  a ‘Roundtable Discussion on Supreme Audit Institutions Strategic Level Responses to COVID-19 Pandemic’, which  was attended virtually by Heads of Audit institutions around the World.

During the session, it was announced that four Heads of National Audit institutions including  Mr Kimi Makwetu, Auditor General of South Africa  and Ayeni of Nigeria were  billed for retirement.

However, a source told DAILY ASSET that Ayeni stunned the international community when he said he retirement was not certain, when called upon to make a farewell speech to his colleagues.

Since his public statement on the matter, tension has been mounting at the Audit House as a group, which called itself “Concerned Senior Staff” have said they would not cooperate with the retiring AGF or take orders from him if he failed to hand over after October 25.

“This is a constitutional position, its different from normal administrative office. We want the right  and proper thing to be done to protect the integrity of the office,” the source quoted a member of the group to have said.

The source also said the group was rooting for the appointment of a career person in the system as the next AGF.

“We want to support President Buhari’s war against corruption and the Auditor General is central to this anti-corruption fight, so this is no time for experiments, we appeal to the Federal Government to promote a culture of internal succession for institutional memory, continuity and transparent audit of government finances and offices,” the group was quoted to have said.

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