•Gathungu said she has already established an in-house plan that will ensure the pending audited reports for state entities are released before the end of this year.
• The office has been without its bearer for the last eleven months after Edward Ouko’s term expired in August last year after serving an 8-year term.
Newly sworn-in Auditor General Nancy Gathungu on Thursday assumed office.
Gathungu, while taking the mantle from her predecessor Edward Ouko, said her area of focus will be to clear the backlog of audit reports for various public institutions.
She said as an insider during Ouko’s tenure, she has already established an in-house plan that will ensure the pending audited reports for state entities are released before the end of this year.
The office has been without its bearer for the last 11 months after Edward Ouko’s term expired in August last year after serving an eight-year nonrenewable term.
The Public Audit Act has no clear provisions for a transition unless the previous office holder dies, resigns, or is removed.
Ouko faulted this arrangement, saying it creates a void in the crucial office and does not guarantee a proper handover.
Efforts to fill the office became rocky and controversial marred with legal disputes.
In October last year, a total of 17 people were shortlisted for the job.
The 17, two women and 15 men were among 70 applicants who sent their credentials to be considered for the job.
Gathungu was among those shortlisted.
Others were Idris Abdi Abdullahi, William Otieno Agunda, David Obwaya Gichana, Edwin Kipkoech Kamar and David Muchoki Kanja.
Dennis Theuri Kariuki, Sylvester Ngei Kiini , Dr Peter Kitonyo, Dr Lari Leonard Rang’ala, Elizabeth Wangui Mwathi , Francis Kigo Njenga and Meshack Obiero Onyango were also shortlisted.
Others were Moses Edwin Owuor, Alex Nthiga Rugera, Joseph Masambu Talula and Calistus Wekesa Waswa are among the finalists expected to undergo vetting.
In December the same year, the government re-advertised the position after the PSC selection panel failed to get suitable candidates from the 17 shortlisted.
PSC chairman Stephen Kirago said the decision was reached after consultation with the office of the President.
In May this year, 10 accountants made it to the shortlist of candidates bidding to succeed Ouko.
They were among 64 applicants who registered their interest with the Mutua Kilaka-led selection panel.
The shortlisted were 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 were Meshack Onyango from Siaya; Nancy Gathungu (Nyeri); Paul Masinde (Bungoma); and Dennis Kariuki from Nyeri.
Of these, seven were officials of various ranks at the Office of the Auditor-General.
Lari is a director of the audit in charge of the Kisumu Hub; while Kamar and Ngei are deputy auditors general.
Nguring'a is currently a director of the audit, a post that is also held by Onyango, Gathungu, and Theuri.
Later on in June, President Uhuru Kenyatta nominated Gathungu for the position of Auditor General.
State House spokesperson Kanze Dena-Mararo said Gathungu was the first among the top three candidates presented to President Uhuru Kenyatta for nomination by the Recruitment Panel.
Gathungu’s major task is to ensure the state’s audited report for the 2018/19 and 2019/20 fiscal years are released.
This is amid concerns about public expenditure plans.
In her statement, she said already the reports are done and completed and are just waiting for her signature before they are released to the public.