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Senators want new system to audit use of funds in counties

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Senators want new system to audit use of funds in counties

Senators are rooting for a new system of auditing public funds to avert misappropriation.

The senators have renewed the push to have a kitty to facilitate effective oversight in county governments.

Senate Majority Whip Kimani Wamatangi said there was need for a system to be formulated to ensure senators exercise oversight over the use of funds by the county governments during the implementation of the projects.

The senator, a long serving member of the Senate Public Accounts and Investments Committee, said while there are adequate laws and regulations to guide public officials on the use of resources, the extent to which the country has been losing billions to corruption and waste calls for a preemptive approach to ensure the money is spent in a transparent manner.

“One of the main challenges that we have is that audits happen after the money has been spent.

We have said that audit and oversight should not be a postmortem exercise, where auditors come in after money has been misappropriated, when it should have been audited during the project implementation stage,” Wamatangi said.

Currently, both the Senate and the National Assembly are conducting investigations relating to theft of public resources in ministries and state agencies.

At the same time, 27 counties are set to be investigated by the Ethics and Anti-Corrution Commission over allegations of misappropriation of Covid-19 related funds, flouting procurement rules and payment of fictitious tenders where billions of taxpayer’s money may have been lost.

Auditor General Nancy Gathungu has recommended that EACC should act on county officials who will be found culpable of the malpractice relating to Covid-19 funds, embezzlement of the Kenya Devolution Support Project (KSDP) financed by the World Bank and illegal procurement of tenders. 

Said Wamatangi: “A recent Auditor General’s report has recommended investigations and prosecutions by EACC and DCI in so many counties on the Covid-19 funds, and this tells you that we certainly have a big problem on how to ensure that when money is given out to entities, be it the county governments or other state agencies, there is a system to monitor its utilisation to avert misappropriation.”

Senators have since 2013 been pushing for the establishment of an oversight kitty to enable them to effectively monitor the use of county funds.

Laikipia Senator Joseph Kinyua said lack of proper audit mechanisms that are preemptive, and failure to give senators facilitation to undertake oversight in county governments have exposed public funds to theft and turned the Senate into a toothless organ when it comes to protecting county resources. 

“The Senate has been operating like a mortician and not a surgeon like we are supposed to be.

In our oversight role, we have been dealing with a dead patient instead of handling the patient to ensure he or she survives by ensuring that we act before money is misappropriated,” Kinyua told People Daily yesterday.

In summary

    • At least 27 counties are set to be investigated by the anti corruption commission over allegations of misappropriation of Covid-19-related funds
    • Senators want the Auditor General’s office devolved to enhance oversight.
    • So far, EACC has issued more than 400 advisories to counties and other public institutions to seal corruption loopholes and institutionalise ethics and integrity in their systems.

Original Source Website: : https://www.pd.co.ke/news/senators-want-new-system-to-audit-use-of-funds-in-counties-70980/

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