DPP: Empower office of Auditor General to improve governance

Wednesday, August 25th, 2021 00:00 | By
DPP Noordin Haji
DPP Noordin Haji. Photo/PD/File
DPP Noordin Haji

REPORTS: The Office of the Auditor General must be given more powers to bite so as to make it easier for the Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP) to act on audit reports generated by the office.

DPP Noordin Haji said as it currently stands, he cannot prosecute a case based on the Auditor General’s reports, unless the report goes through investigative agencies first.

“In my opinion, she (Auditor General) really needs some teeth to be able to say if you have an audit query you need to step aside,” said Haji.

Haji said it would be better if reports by the Auditor General were considered as an investigation as this would enable his office to carry out prosecutions based on them without having to go through investigative agencies.

The DPP called on Kenyans to observe integrity, saying the country may not achieve much if it has efficient systems but its people lack integrity.

For a while now, the Auditor general has been flagging possible misappropriation in government spending but little or no action is taken.

Recently she revealed gaps in how The National Government Affirmative Action Fund (NGAAF) was spent, saying there were doubts on how the agency spent some Sh28.6 million in 2019/20 financial year.

Similarly, Ministry of Energy was fingered over a Sh18.5 billion Lake Turkana wind farm project saying the process of picking the contractor who constructed the transmission line was not competitive.

Haji spoke at a Nairobi hotel during a round-table discussion hosted by the National Assembly’s Public Accounts Committee.

Speaking at the same event, the Auditor General Nancy Gathungu, called on the government to act on audit reports generated by her office, saying if financial transgressions go unpunished the behaviour will recur in future.

Pro-basis accounting

“An audit report is only useful if its findings are implemented. Implementation is critical. Offences identified need to be sanctioned,” she said.

Gathungu, called on the government to move to pro-basis accounting, saying it would enable the various government ministries and departments to spend smoothly even in the last month of the financial year.

She said currently government agencies rush to spend money towards the end of a financial year to avoid returning unused amounts to Treasury, a phenomenon that fuels corruption and misuse of public funds. – Lewis Njoka

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