CRITICAL OFFICE

Public funds exposed to abuse by absence of auditor general

Executive should minimise interference with selection process to maintain liberty of office

In Summary

• Audit reports have exposed the rot in several counties especially after the respective officeholders are grilled by parliamentary committees. 

• It is even more worrying that none of the former auditor general’s deputies is authorised to sign off the audit reports in the absence of an officeholder. 

Former Auditor general Dr Edward Ouko at Pride Inn Paradise hotel in Mombasa.
RETIRED LAST YEAR: Former Auditor general Dr Edward Ouko at Pride Inn Paradise hotel in Mombasa.
Image: FILE

The delay in the appointment of an auditor general leaves the country staring at a possible crisis and loophole for corrupt leaders to tamper with audit reports and further misappropriate public resources. 

Since the former auditor general left office in August last year, it has not been business as usual in the critical office known for telling Kenyans the truth concerning the state of their resources. 

The absence of the chief auditor provides an ample platform for opportunistic leaders to loot further. In his past audit reports, the former auditor general raised a number of red flags on many counties and public-funded entities. Some cases such as those of Nairobi and Kiambu counties have had eventual huge impacts after their bosses were implicated in graft investigations by the DPP and DCI.

Apart from the ones who have had their way to court, the audit reports have exposed the rot in several counties especially after the respective officeholders are grilled by parliamentary committees of both houses in a bid to resuscitate their credibility. 

The Judiciary should speed up the appointment process such that services in this office go back to normalcy. Since this is a critical office, the executive should minimise interference in the selection process as earlier claimed by the applicants as any slight interference would tamper with the independence of the office.

It is even more worrying that none of the former auditor general’s deputies is authorised to sign off the audit reports in the absence of an officeholder. It implies that as we draw close to the end of 2019-20, there will be even more pile-up of these reports. 

 

Kakamega