Don't slash budget for Auditor General

In Summary

• Officers of the Auditor General failed to travel to Nairobi because of budget cuts.

• The Senate Public Accounts committee then cancelled a hearing into the finances of Kisumu county

Operations at the Office of Auditor General have ground to a halt following a Sh137 million budget cut.

On Monday a Senate Public Accounts Committee meeting was called off after the OAG officers in Kisumu failed to travel to Nairobi.

It is generally agreed that AG Nancy Gathungu has done a good job tracking down wasteful and fraudulent spending in government.

When Gathungu took over, the AG was five years behind schedule on auditing government institutions. Now the AG is more or less up-to-date. Her investigations have led to successful prosecutions in government. Her office should not be starved of funds as she saves more than she spends.

Moreover, the AG is now being asked to audit 10,000 schools so she is being asked to do more work for less money. This does not make sense.

The only way that we can have confidence that money is not being wasted is if government accounts are regularly audited, just as in a private company.

Budgets should consider needs, not wants. And we definitely need an effective and dynamic Auditor General. Her office should not be subject to budget cuts if we want her to be truly effective.

Quote of the day: "It all comes from the history and tradition of Mali. It comes from the heart and the blood."

Ali Farka Touré
The Malian musician died on March 7, 2006

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