MISADVISED

Delayed appointment imperils war on corruption

Uhuru could be misadvised to believe that delaying appointment of the new auditor general does not affect the war against corruption

In Summary

• The delayed appointment is undermining the fight against corruption.

• Law should be changed to quicken appointment of a successor.

Auditor General Edward Ouko /FILE
Auditor General Edward Ouko /FILE

The current situation where we are not having a substantive Auditor General could be as a result of some people misadvising the president on the importance of that office.

Some people could have advised him that the office of Auditor General is an institution and may continue operating even without substantive holder.

They are forgetting a case not long ago where (former lands CS and current Kitui governor) Charity Ngilu and others were charged for corruption but the court ruled that corruption charges cannot be sustained by investigations that were done by EACC secretariat without substantive commissioners. 

 
 

Similarly, reports emanating from the auditor general's office as the current is may be of little or no legal value in helping the fight against corruption. Someone can easily go to court and impeach any prosecution based on reports produced when the office is vacant. That is how the current situation (of vacancy) in the office of Auditor general is affecting proper oversight in administering public finance. 

So the president and the oversight players must know that they are undermining the fight against misuse of public resources and corruption. 

The constitution is very clear that the office of the auditor general comprises the holder of that office and those working under or her. 

Besides, we risk losing the gains and public confidence that the former officeholder Edward Ouko attracted to the office if the current vacancy continues. 

To avoid the recurrence of the situation where the auditor general exits office without a substantive successor in place in future, I think the law needs to be reviewed to seal any lacuna that maybe there. For example, the law should be changed to specify the timelines of recruiting the successor. 

We must also have it in law that only one qualified person who is competitively recruited and meets the requirements of the constitution and the law is forwarded to the president for appointment.

This is important so that the person finally selected does not work to the whims of the president, but owes loyalty to the Kenyan people as part of securing their independence.  

 
 

Where a list of choices is forwarded to the president, it does not bode well for their integrity because a perception can be created that ultimately they owe their offices to the president.

Further, even on legislating timelines, we need to start the process early enough so that when the tenancy of the incumbent expires, the successor is available to receive handover notes and sustain the continuity of the institution. 

By this, we will be ensuring that files do not disappear neither money trails in active investigations distorted.

The Coordinator of the National Civil Society Congress spoke to the Star