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Columnists

Waiguru affidavit proved IFMIS is a total failure

I must confess that I have thoroughly enjoyed reading the affidavit by former Devolution and Planning secretary Anne Waiguru on the National Youth Service (NYS) saga.

If you have been following this saga closely, you will find Ms Waiguru’s narrative very illuminating.

Indeed, much of what she says in the affidavit- especially about the political allegiances of the main accused persons and the support they enjoyed across top echelons of the Jubilee elite - are not new. These are open secrets.

But for journalists like me, Ms Waiguru has - by swearing the affidavit and making these disclosures - made it possible for us to put on paper what we could not report because of fear of libel.

More important, Ms Waiguru’s affidavit has for the first time given us rare glimpses of the unpublished contents of the report of the investigations by the Directorate of Criminal Investigations on the NYS saga.

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You can question Ms Waiguru’s tactics, but when the likes of Majority Leader in the National Assembly Aden Duale and Elgeyo Marakwet Senator Kipchumba Murkomen speak and act as though the unity of factions of the Jubilee elite should be a higher calling for Ms Waiguru than pursuit of the full truth surrounding one of the most egregious corruption scandals of our time - the legislators are out of sync with the interests of the common man.

Enough of politics. What policy issues do the disclosure in Ms Waiguru’s affidavit raise? All doubts we had about the efficacy of the Integrated Financial Management Information System (IFMIS) have been confirmed.

Seeing how these cowboys managed to manipulate IFMIS to corruptly siphon off public resources, we must accept that the system has completely failed and needs to be discarded.

If I were President Uhuru Kenyatta, I would order the National Treasury to immediately implement a fresh and comprehensive core accounting and financial system that is fully compliant with the so called Generally Accepted Government Accounting Standards (Gagas).

And I would invite one of the top vendors of core financial and accounting systems- the big names in the business, such as Oracle of the US, SAP of Germany and IBM of the US to implement a truly integrated financial and accounting system.

IFMIS has failed because implementation put too much emphasis on payments. Indeed, the narrow focus on automating payments is what has put us in the current mess.

From Ms Waiguru’s affidavit, we see how the cowboys were able to load the supplementary budget into the system and even manage to get Exchequer releases on the very same day.

The system allowed these few cowboys to commit projects, issue LPOs, book invoices, confirm receipt of goods and services- select items to be paid, and then authorise that payments be made through G-Pay at the Central Bank of Kenya.

From Ms Waiguru’s affidavit, we see how these cowboys were meeting in coffee houses on Langata Road to discuss how to commit and decomit public resources through IFMIS.

At one point, we see the corrupt cowboys gathered at IFMIS offices at the National Treasury buildings haggling over how much money to de-commit tp contracts listed for payments.

How arbitrary? We are told that Josephine Kabura’s companies were not procured by the NYS, but by the Ministry of Land.

How - if it is not through collusion by administrators - can you manage to pay a supplier you did not create in the system in the first place.

Ms Waiguru’s affidavit has confirmed that IFMIS allows you to pay for goods not supplied, goods already paid for and to spend money on goods at widely inflated prices.

Indeed, the IFMIS mess makes a complete mockery of our much-vaunted procurement laws.

Never before have the activities of tiny clique succeeded in exposing so much rot at the heart of the nation’s accounting and financial system.

The NYS investigations must be extended to include a comprehensive forensic of IFMIS itself. If you don’t discard IFMIS, you will not stop corruption.

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