Why it’s better for pensioners that the Auditor-General hasn’t been appointed yet
According to MISMOB investigations, the lack of a new state Auditor-General is having a negative impact on the quality of life for recently retired civil personnel in Anambra State.

Mr. Daniel Okeke’s appointment as Auditor-General of the State of Anambra was affirmed by the House of Assembly on November 4, 2022; however, Okeke departed in July of this year, leaving the position empty.

After Okeke’s resignation four months ago, Anambra State governor Prof. Chukwuma Soludo has shown no signs of appointing a new Auditor-General.

This has created uncertainty for government workers who retired after he left office and continues to this day.

According to information obtained by MISMOB, when a government employee reaches retirement age, the agency from which they retired immediately begins processing their entitlement, allowing them to start receiving pension payments right away while waiting for the calculating of their gratuity, a much bigger figure.

Retiree who was asked about the situation but who asked not to be named remarked, “I just retired from service.” Typically, paperwork for a pension is started months in advance of retirement (though this may vary from office to office), so that payments can begin the month after retirement.

The pension is meant to provide financial stability for retirees who are still in good health but no longer receiving a paycheck while they search for new employment opportunities.

Even though my paperwork has been processed, it is still sitting at the Auditor-General’s desk, the very last step in the process. But just now, Anambra does not have an Auditor-General. What that implies is that we will keep waiting till a new one is appointed,” the retiree bemoaned.

Staff at the Auditor-General’s office in Ukwu Orji, behind the Government House, told DAILY POST that several files needed the Auditor-General’s signature before pension payments could be made to pensioners.

The employee told MISMOB, requesting anonymity since he is not authorized to speak: “The truth is that nothing is moving in our office at present.

“The previous Auditor-General retired a few months ago, and no replacement has been named in that position. The sheer volume of documents in need of a signature will astound you.

As your retirement date draws near, your current place of employment will start the paperwork procedure. After that is complete, it is sent to the office of the service head for final signature approval by the Auditor-General. When you’ve completed these steps, you’ll be able to start collecting your pension.

Getting the Auditor-General to sign off on the documents is the final step. There is a senior officer on staff, but he cannot sign those documents because his signature would render them invalid. We also have no idea when the governor of Anambra State would name a new auditor. Therefore, the futures of many retirees between the time the previous auditor general stepped down and the time a new one is appointed remain uncertain.

Shortly before his retirement, in July, the former Auditor-General, Mr. Okeke, spoke at a workshop hosted by the Anambra State House of Assembly committee on auditor engagement forum and accountability dialogue. He emphasized the importance of audit work in fostering public trust and confidence in government financial transactions.

This highlighted the significance of the audit office and the significance of filling any vacancies that may arise.

However, Governor Soludo has shown no signs of appointing a new auditor general.

The Head of Service, Mrs. Theodora Igwegbe, declined to comment to MISMOB when we visited her office to inquire about the government’s plans for assisting recently retired civil servants in receiving their pension payments pending the appointment of a new Auditor-General.

Over the course of two days, numerous attempts to reach her via mobile phone went unanswered.

Mr. Chris Azor, a civil society activist, responded, saying, “I don’t have all the details, but I’m aware that there is someone in acting capacity. I served on the budget committee, and around two weeks ago, an individual I am familiar with from the Auditor-General’s office appeared before us in an acting role.

“That was even when I knew that the former Auditor-General, who was also my buddy, had retired. The individual introduced himself as Akosa and said he was operating in that capacity.

I’m not in charge of legal matters for the governor, but if I didn’t know until today that someone close to me — the Auditor General — had retired, then it must be a recent development. So, I believe the governor is waiting for the right moment before appointing a new Auditor-General.

New retirees will continue to have a tough time of it, what with the country’s difficult economy and all, as long as the governor “waits to do the needful.”

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