Elections: Auditor mulls measures to stop funds misuse
The office of the Auditor General (OAG) is considering setting up a fire wall to prevent county heads from squandering public funds, as the country transits to the fifth administration through the August General Election. Several governors are set to transit while some Members of Parliament may not make it to the August House, raising concerns over the safety of Constituency Development Fund (CDF) and other funds meant for devolved units.
In the last financial year, County governments got an equitable share of Sh370 billion, an increase from Sh315 billion the previous year after an adjustment of revenue growth amounting to Sh53.5 billion. In addition the national government CDF was allocated Sh41.7 billion.
“We don’t want the case of 2013 between the local authorities and the counties to recur. We again don’t want the case of 2017, especially in the counties when outgoing governors did not properly hand over to incoming governors and we are still trying to unravel the issues to do with asset management,” said Auditor General Nancy Gathungu.
Gathungu was speaking after the launch of the Kiswahili audit report meant to expand readership reach and understandability to over 70 per cent of Kenyans who understand Kiswahili better than English. The chief guest at the launch was Tanzania’s Controller and Auditor General Charles Kichere.
In the safety measures outlined by Auditor General Nancy Gathungu, accounting officers at the county level and those responsible for government ministries, departments and agencies (MDAs) will be required to prepare comprehensive handing over reports on the projects they will leave outstanding for each constituencies, as well as clear all pending bills.
“We want to see proper comprehensive asset lists and ownership documents and where possible, the value of these assets so that public assets don’t get lost during transitions,” said Gathungu. But with the elections three months away, there is fear that national government and county resources will be siphoned and used to facilitate elections, even as experts reckon the audit call by Gathungu might be a tall order. According to George Njenga, a senior lecturer, School of Business and Governance at Strathmore University, “if it (the audit) hasn’t been done, I don’t expect it to be done in the next three months,” he told the Business Hub yesterday, terming it “ a bit of a joke.
– Noel Wandera