• Public Audit Act requires the selection panel to conduct the interviews in public.
• Team to send three names to the President and submit the interview scores to Parliament.
Ten accountants have made it to the shortlist of candidates bidding to succeed Edward Ouko as auditor general.
They were among 64 applicants who registered their interest with the Mutua Kilaka-led selection panel.
The shortlisted are Leonard Lari from Busia county; Edwin Kamar (Elgeyo Marakwet); Benson Okundi (Homa Bay); Silvester Kiini (Makueni); Elizabeth Nguring'a (Nyeri); Idris Abdullahi (Wajir).
Also shortlisted are Meshack Onyango from Siaya; Nancy Gathungu (Nyeri); Paul Masinde (Bungoma); and Dennis Kariuki from Nyeri.
Of these, seven are currently officials of various ranks at the Office of the Auditor-General.
Lari is a director of audit in charge of the Kisumu Hub; while Kamar and Ngei are deputy auditors general.
Nguring'a is currently a director of audit, a post that is also held by Onyango, Gathungu, and Theuri.
A notice by the panel chair states that the interviews will be conducted on June 2 and June 3 at the PSC headquarters, Nairobi.
Kilaka has asked Kenyans to provide the panel – in writing, any credible information of interest on any of the shortlisted candidates by May 22.
The Public Audit Act requires the selection panel to conduct the interviews in public, settle on three names to send to the President and submit the scores to Parliament.
The President is required to select one person and forward his/her name to the National Assembly for approval within three days of receiving the panel’s report.
Ouko’s succession has delayed a great deal after PSC’s first bid to fill the post - which has been vacant since August last year, was nullified by the High Court.
The Public Audit Act has no clear provisions for a transition unless the previous office holder dies, resigns, or is removed.
Ouko, when leaving in August last year, faulted this arrangement saying it creates a void in the crucial office and does not guarantee a proper handover.
Activist Okiya Omtatah challenged the process and secured orders compelling the government to conduct the now scheduled fresh interviews.
The former panel concluded that they did not get a suitable candidate, citing integrity issues touching on the top candidate despite him scoring above 70 per cent.
This was at the height of claims of political machinations to influence the choice of the candidate for the oversight job.
The defunct panel’s chairman Sammy Onyango denied claims “there was undue pressure on the team to get a candidate from the correct quarters”.
At least 17 applicants were interviewed before the courts nullified the recruitment process.
The Public Investments (PIC), Public Accounts (PAC), and Special Funds committees have rallied for the post to be filled urgently.
They cite a backlog in the review of the state agencies’ audited books as the Treasury fights for extension of time for entities to present their audited reports to Parliament.
The reports were supposed to be in by December 31 last year – being six months after the end of the financial period.
Reports of the Central Bank of Kenya, Kenya Power, KenGen, East African Portland Cement, Capital Markets Authority, and Ethics and Anti-Corruption Commission (EACC) are among those affected.
The affected agencies are unable to pay dividends to their shareholders since only a substantive auditor can sign their books.
(edited by o. owino)