LOSSES AND DELAYS CITED

Senators probe Ifmis use following governors’ protest

System was introduced to streamline and seal loopholes in the management of taxpayers’ money.

In Summary

• Speaker Kenneth Lusaka ordered the committee chaired by Kirinyaga Senator Charles Kibiru to summon relevant officers and get to the bottom of the issues raised.

• The enquiry comes barely a month after the National Assembly launched a similar investigation to establish the system’s efficiency.

Treasury Building.
Treasury Building.
Image: FILE

Senators have launched an enquiry into the Integrated Financial Management Information System and its application in the distribution of funds to counties.

This comes amid claims the automated system has caused massive loss of public funds even as governors protest the delays caused in cash flows.

The probe comes barely a month after the National Assembly launched a similar probe to establish the system’s efficiency.

In their probe by the Finance and Budget committee, the senators want National Treasury CS Ukur Yatani to disclose the service provider that set up Ifmis and details of the tender award.

“The committee should further provide information on the operation and management of Ifmis and its linkages, if any, with the county governments’ financial management and information systems,” Senator Petronilla Were said.

Were petitioned the House to investigate the system after several governors blamed it for county financial problems. The lawmaker demanded an explanation on the backup controls in place in the event the system malfunctions.

She wants the committee to dig deeper and provide a comparative analysis between Ifmis and the financial management system previously used.

Speaker Kenneth Lusaka ordered the committee chaired by Kirinyaga Senator Charles Kibiru to summon relevant officers and get to the bottom of the issues raised in the statement.

Ifmis, an automated system introduced to streamline and seal loopholes in the management of taxpayers’ money, is domiciled at the National Treasury. However, critics say it is inefficient and prone to downtime.

“The system is as good as the people who use it. So I will not defend the officers if they do not use the system as they ought to because they are the ones who have the responsibility to ensure they enter every entry into the system,” Kirinyaga Governor Anne Waiguru said when she appeared before a Senate committee last year.

Waiguru, under whose tenure as CS the system was rolled, blamed its operators for erroneous postings and demanded investigations.

According to a report of the Auditor General on Ifmis’ effectiveness released last year, the system has an inherent inadequacies that negate its objective of streamlining financial management.

The report picked holes in the security management administration, stability, performance, integrity, reliability, business continuity, data recovery and network infrastructure of Ifmis.

In May 2019, there was an uproar after it emerged that the system misallocated Sh10 billion to county governments. The system showed that the counties had spent money on vote heads outside their purview.

Ifmis has also been mentioned in scandals that have hit the National Youth Service. Allegations that it has been ‘hacked’ have arisen several times given its weak internal control and a lack of a functioning audit.