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December 13, 2018

Hold guilty accountants to account for loss of funds

Ugunja MP Opiyo Wandayi addressing residents in Ugunja. /FILE
Ugunja MP Opiyo Wandayi addressing residents in Ugunja. /FILE

This report is a culmination of a long journey walked by PAC in the scrutiny of value for money, efficiency and effectiveness of public spending and in holding the Government and its officers to account for the delivery of public services.

The importance of parliamentary scrutiny in public value management cannot be over-emphasised. The National Assembly exercises oversight over national revenue and its expenditure pursuant to Article 95(4) (c) of the Constitution through PAC which, in turn, derives its mandate from Standing Order 205. 

The Committee held a total of 76 sittings during which it received both written and oral evidence from Accounting Officers on audit queries raised by the Auditor General. 

A major challenge that the Committee encountered, from time to time, is the high level of unpreparedness on the part of a number of Accounting Officers, which necessitated early adjournment of scheduled meetings. In addition, other Accounting Officers sought last-minute postponement of their appearance before the Committee, further stretching the Committee’s limited time.

The Office of the Auditor General  continues to meticulously highlight cases of questionable expenditure of public funds in its annual reports. There is, however, a real risk of reducing this serious contribution by the Auditor's Office into a mere ritual if no action is taken on its findings.

The Committee has, therefore, upon careful evaluation of the evidence before it, taken a pragmatic step by holding to account individual officers for their various acts of omission and/or commission that occasioned loss of public funds.     

In some cases, the Committee has invoked the provisions of Article 226(5) of the Constitution and recommended that the concerned officers make good the losses that have arisen under their watch, upon conclusive investigations by investigative agencies. Parliament must breathe life to this progressive constitutional provision that has clearly been in limbo since promulgation of the Constitution in 2010.

The commitment and devotion to duty of everyone involved in this arduous task made the work of the Committee and production of this report a success. I thank each one of them. 

 

Excerpts from the PAC chairman's report

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