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February 19, 2019

Parliament to amend law on public funds use

Institute of Certified Public Accountants CEO Edwin Makori hands over a gift to Bomet Governor Joyce Laboso during a Financial Reporting and Management conference for county governments in Mombasa on April 11, 2018 /JOHN CHESOLI
Institute of Certified Public Accountants CEO Edwin Makori hands over a gift to Bomet Governor Joyce Laboso during a Financial Reporting and Management conference for county governments in Mombasa on April 11, 2018 /JOHN CHESOLI

Accounting officers in public institutions who provide little or no documents to back their expenditures could be barred from holding similar positions in future.

Parliament is considering to ammend the Public Finance Management Act to punish accounting officers flagged down in the Auditor-General’s reports.

The auditor gives a qualified opinion when designated accounting officers provide little or no documents to the auditors scrutinising their books of accounts.

Public Accounts Committees of National assembly and its counterpart in the Senate have proposed amendments to the PFM Act to bar officers who fail to provide evidence to support their expenditures from being designated as accounting officers.

“Any officer whose vote received a qualified audit report in the Auditor General’s report shall not be eligible for designation as an accounting officer unless cleared through writing by the Auditor General,” says the committee.

The recommendation is contained in the committee’s report on the examination of Auditor-General’s report on the financial statement of the national government for the 2014-15 financial year.

The Opiyo Wandayi-led panel made the proposal after it established that several officers in National government, ministries and parastatals had qualified opinions on their votes in the Auditor’s report.

Principal Secretariats are the designated accounting officers in ministries and are responsible for financial operations in the institutions. Chief officers are their equivalents in the county governments.

The committee also wants the Auditor General to establish a criteria for awarding clearance certificates for a person who served in the previous financial year or to be appointed to serve as an accounting officer.

It wants Section 67 of the PFM Act amended to allow Treasury CS to provide to the National Assembly, every financial year before appropriation bill, a list of officers proposed for designation as Accounting Officers for review.

 

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