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Tuesday, 21 September 2010

Public audit lessons from Kenya

How will the new Constitution affect Kenya's accountability on public finance?
In the new constitution, the process of appointment, qualifications, period of service and roles and responsibilities of the Auditor General are well defined. The performance of the Auditor General will be scrutinised by parliament and county assemblies with the audit reports being submitted to these two organs. The new law provides that within six months after each financial year, the Auditor General shall audit and report on the spending by the national and county governments. The reports are to be tabled to parliament or county assemblies where they will be debated and considered within three months of submission. This gives a defined timeline of nine months for the audits to be concluded.

This will be a complete contrast from the current practice where audits are carried out years later, making the audit findings difficult to follow up on.

The big question, however, is: what can the Auditor General do to comply with the new timelines? The options available are either hiring more trained auditors, or outsourcing some of the audit tasks to private firms. In the end, irrespective of which option taken, there will be demand for skilled accountants and auditors to undertake the required audits.
This appears a cardinal invention and one which we should emulate. It does not make sense in 2010 to be reading an auding report about 2008! The problem of course is having it in "law" is not the same as actually making it happen. We have many good laws on our books (as presumably do the Kenyans), the problem is enforcing them. You can read the entire piece here.

1 comment:

  1. good point, we hope that the new constitution brings about mandatory discipline from the current practice. It would also help if reports from the auditor general are made public as soon as they are cleared by parliament.

    ReplyDelete

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