By Telford Aduda
The Institute of Certified Public Accountants of Kenya (ICPACK) now wants the Auditor-General to release the names of officials who failed to account for Ksh. 67 Billion worth of public funds that were spent in the financial year 2013/2014 so that disciplinary action may be taken against them. The institute said on Wednesday that auditing is a legal process that is undertaken according to the laid down procedures which accounting officers cannot be allowed to ignore without sanctions.
“The report indicates that payments were not supported by invoices and receipts from service providers, updated asset registers were not provided and that a number of the agencies did not have audit committees and risk management policies as required by the public finance Management Act,” said ICPAK chief executive Patrick Ngumi.
Dr. Ngumi added that operating in such environment was contrary to the requirement that procurement committees meetings and minutes are taken before any expenditure is incurred.
“Is the Auditor-General saying that there are no documents to support all this? And we are talking about billions of shilling and not petty cash for office tea,” he added.
Dr. Ngumi demanded that the Auditor-General, or any other person authorized to do so, release the names of the accounting officers involved so that ICPAK could take disciplinary action against them. He said that the finance departments of the institutions mentioned had accountants and chief finance officers who should be held accountable for the auditing gaps that are expressly unlawful.
“Let them stop talking too much and put faces to these people so that we deal with them if indeed they are our members. ICPAK will deregister them and go to an extent of pressuring their bosses to sack them,” he said while speaking to journalists at a press conference of the institute’s Enterprise Risk Management Conference at the Mombasa Continental Beach Resort
This comes after last week’s report released by the Auditor-General Edward Ouko indicating that the national government was unable to account for Ksh. 66.7 Billion.
Key ministries including Health, Transport and Infrastructure, Foreign Affairs, Education and the Attorney General’s office are among those accused of failing to provide supporting documentation on how they spent public funds over the 2013-2014 period.
Cabinet secretaries of the affected ministries have since come out fighting, claiming to have provided relevant documentation.
Mr. Ouko said that the said explanation had come too late despite the clear timelines set for audit. He added that people who really should take charge do not take the audit process seriously and only react at the tail end. He continued that the report was out of his hands, having handed it to the ministries and Parliament.
He said that any explanation would have to be made to the National Assembly’s Public Accounts Committee.