NAIROBI, Kenya, Aug 10 – Auditor General Edward Ouko has come out to calm the nerves of State officials whose ministries could not account for monies allocated to them in the 2013/14 financial year.
In an advertisement published in the local dailies, Ouko says although the lack of supporting documents was a serious omission in Public Finance Management it did not necessarily mean that funds had been misused.
“We wish to affirm that supporting documentation is the basis for expenditure in the use of public resources, lack of it does not mean misuse of funds,” said the Auditor General.
Ouko said the agencies and various ministries they audited lacked supporting documents totalling over Sh66 billion.
He said it was only Parliament’s Public Accounts Committee that could determine whether public resources were squandered as their report was the beginning of subsequent phases in the accountability cycle.
“The Auditor General prepares the report for the people of the Republic of Kenya and submits it to Parliament. Reports on County governments and County Assemblies are also presented to County Assemblies and Senate respectively,” he said.
Ouko urged the committees to invite the affected government ministries and agencies to clear themselves so as to end the public outcry over whether public funds had been lost and whether the auditor failed to submit a comprehensive report.
“Acceptability of the plausibility of the explanations and authenticity of the documentation is the preserve of the PAC once the audit report has been submitted to Parliament – only PAC can authoritatively declare whether public funds had been misused,” he said.
He further dispelled the notion that accounting officers were not given enough time to respond to audit queries saying in fact the audit process had taken more time due to staffing constraints.
Although the constitution demands that the auditor submit the audit report by December 31, for the 2013/14 financial year, the report was submitted in March.
In the report, out of the Sh1.59 trillion allocated to the National Government, Sh66 billion was classified as unsupported expenditure while an excess of Sh24 billion was spent by the health Ministry without the approval of Parliament.
Various Cabinet Secretaries have however dismissed the report saying the auditor failed to put into account all the statements they submitted.
The auditor who is expected to appear before the National Assembly Public Accounts Committee this Thursday has since claimed his life is in danger following publication of the report.
Appearing on Citizen Television’s breakfast show Ouko said his staff had also received similar threats from unknown people.