Turnaround: Edward Ouko Absolves 11 Counties From Blame Over Bizarre Spending
May. 15, 2019
Auditor-General Edward Ouko has publicly absolved 11 counties from blame over bizarre spending for financial year 2017/18, putting an end to speculation that hundreds of millions may have been lost through corruption.
The Auditor-General’s report had exposed Kiambu, Kakamega, Kitui, Nyeri and Kirinyaga counties for spending hundreds of millions of shillings on functions over which they lack jurisdiction.
Other counties affected by the erroneous reports generated from the Integrated Financial and Management System (Ifmis) were Laikipia, Kwale, Nyamira, Samburu, Garissa, and Lamu.
The Senate County Public Accounts and Investments Committee had already ordered Mr. Ouko to conduct a special audit on the financial accounts of Kiambu within 45 days.
On Tuesday, however, Mr. Ouko said the audit queries flagged by the Senate committee were an issue of “bad reporting”.
“It is just an issue of bad reporting or the information was slotted into a template which was not customized for that particular reporting of the county budget, so you end up with some budget heads from a template of the national government budget. It is not an issue of whether the counties spent money on those items, no,” he said.
“I think you have systems of accounting and then there is subsidiary reporting which is supposed to be done on the budget separately and meant to go to the County Assembly and this was really intended by the Treasury to allow the counties once they have the accounts, they align the budget heads.”
He spoke in Nairobi during the launch of the 2018 Cyber Security Report by cyber firm Serianu.
Governors have defended themselves from accusations of misappropriation of funds saying counties did not budget for, receive or spend monies for functions not under their jurisdictions.
Mr. Ouko’s admission concurs with that of the National Treasury which said there might have been a mix-up in budget, revenue and expenditure reporting.
The Auditor-General is part of a joint committee with the Controller of Budget, Treasury and the Council of Governors, formed to probe the erroneous county audit records.
The committee has a week to release its findings.
Mr.Ouko wants governors who have raised integrity issues regarding some of their officers to provide evidence.
“We do take the concerns seriously and if we get any information that shows it happened, we will take action,” he said.
Last week, Nairobi Governor Mike Sonko demanded the investigation of auditors who prepared the 2017/218 financial reports for Nairobi and Kiambu counties.
He claimed they asked for bribes.
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