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Mudavadi demands IFMIS suspension until forensic audit is done

Party Leader Musalia Mudavadi accused the Treasury officials for “hiding behind computer errors” and called on President Uhuru Kenyatta to suspend the system until public confidence in it is restored/FILE

NAIROBI, Kenya, May 9 – The Amani National Congress has called for an independent forensic audit of Integrated Financial Management and Information System (IFMIS).

Party Leader Musalia Mudavadi accused the Treasury officials for “hiding behind computer errors” and called on President Uhuru Kenyatta to suspend the system until public confidence in it is restored.

IFMIS is the public electronic procurement system that provides an end-to-end platform intended to enhance accountability among suppliers and Government expenditures.

“It would seem that the Treasury — either of its own volition or at someone’s behest — is in the habit of hiding funds in curious budget lines and kiting them out of the public coffers to sinister destinations.”

“The funds are not only shown as allocated, but they are also reflected as disbursed and spent. Even more worrying is that the funds have been shown as spent on budget lines that fall completely outside the remit of County governments,” the former Vice-President and Finance Minister said.

The statement comes days after the National Treasury released a statement explaining ‘abnormal expenditures’ reported in at least eight counties might have been a mix-up in budget, revenue and expenditure reporting.

“The county financial statements by votes and economic items in IFMIS reflect the correct information as budgeted by counties. However, we note that a number of counties do not pay attention to the budget by programmes as required by the law,” stated the Principal Secretary of National Treasury Kamau Thugge.

The opposition figure also came out in defence of the Auditor General, saying that the concerns raised in his reports must be addressed effectively to ensure taxpayers get value for their taxes while those stealing public funds prosecuted.

“This is the grimmest revelation. We want to know what other computer errors exist in the public finance system in the country. We also want if these are deliberate errors, or are they calculated errors,” Mudavadi said.

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IFMIS, whose introduction in 2013 was heralded as the answer to entrenched corruption in government procurement system, has faced criticism from Council of Governors who argue that it has weak controls while governors have termed it a ploy by the national government to control disbursement and use of devolved funds.

“The auditor did an analysis of the system and found it inefficient and made a range of recommendations which we believe should be implemented. IFMIS is an obstacle to development.

Additionally, the system experiences central control shutdowns,” Kakamega Governor Wycliffe Oparanya, who chairs governors’ lobby group said a past appearance before a parliamentary committee.

The audit of the IFMIS by the Auditor-General Edward Ouko, released in November 2016, revealed that the system has numerous control weaknesses that badly expose it to fraud and misuse.

The audit, on the effectiveness of the public electronic procurement system, further revealed negligence on basic system security procedures and lack of data safeguards which makes the system easy to manipulate by fraudsters seeking to steal from the public purse.

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