Pressure mounts on counties to establish internal audit units in war on corruption


Nancy Gathungu, the Auditor-General of the Republic of Kenya gives a speech at a past event. FILE PHOTO | BILLY OGADA | NMG

Pressure is mounting on county governments to establish working internal mechanisms to detect and prevent theft, wastage and other forms of loss of public funds, with the Auditor-General now joining in the call by the Ethics and Anti-Corruption Commission (EACC).

Auditor-General Nancy Gathungu said on Monday her office has been raising concerns about the lack of internal audit units at the devolved units, one of the main loopholes through which public resources are lost.

Read: End corruption, theft of taxes in counties

Her sentiments came within a week after the EACC directed counties to establish internal audits within 60 days, accounting officers in counties will now be hard-pressed to justify spending to internal auditors, a practice the watchdogs feel will prevent theft and wastage.

“This is an area that we keep raising concerns on internal controls, especially at the counties and MDAs (ministries, departments and agencies) where internal audits are not functioning as they should,” said Ms Gathungu.

The Office of the Auditor General reckons having internal audit units in counties would minimise cases where its officers address operational issues in audit reports, which would have otherwise been streamlined by internal auditors and focus on policy and legal issues.

“Unfortunately, because of the gaps with regard to internal controls and internal audits, my office ends up reporting on these issues. They may seem simple, but the overall implication is that funds end up being wasted, lost and fraudulent corruption takes place,” said Ms Gathungu.

In a circular last week, EACC chief executive Twalib Mbarak said the internal audit units in counties would prevent corruption by mapping out loopholes and recommending mitigation measures.

Read: How graft, weak systems cost counties Sh185 billion in taxes

An EACC risk assessment also identified that most of the public assets owned by counties are not registered, while those listed are not insured.

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