Grant auditor access to data

Auditor-General Nancy Gathungu

Auditor-General Nancy Gathungu. PHOTO | NMG

The Auditor-General has revealed that her office has been denied access to the student’s database to scrutinise Sh60 billion expenditure at the Ministry of Education, in the latest confrontation with State officials who continue to make her work difficult.

Nancy Gathungu says she is unable to verify the expenditure due to the inability to access the student enrolment data in the National Education Management Information System (Nemis) as a result of restrictions.

This does not auger well in the face of several anomalies her team already flagged. Ms Gathungu finds that the ministry transferred Sh36.7 billion in free education subsidies to 9,024 secondary schools but the data on the number of students per school and county at any time of disbursement could not be verified.

The failure to grant access to the Nemis system contravenes the Public Audit Act 2015.

The Act grants the Auditor-General or an authorised officer unrestricted access to all documents of entities listed under Article 229(4) of the Constitution.

If the officials have nothing to hide, why deny the auditor from verifying such expenditure? The Education ministry is one of the biggest recipients of public money and it should be ready to be accountable when the auditor comes calling.

The law also gives the Auditor-General, or an officer authorised unrestricted access to any property or premises used or held by State organs or public entities.