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Economy

Parliament in fresh bid for local firm to audit Ouko books

Auditor-General Edward Ouko
Auditor-General Edward Ouko. FILE PHOTO | NMG 

Parliament has launched a fourth attempt to hire a local audit firm to offer external audit services for the office of Auditor-General Edward Ouko.

The successful audit firm will examine Auditor-General’s books of accounts which have not been audited for the financial years 2014/15, 2015/16, 2016/17 and 2017/18. Article 226(4) of the Constitution mandates the National Assembly to appoint auditors to carry out annual audits of the Office of Auditor General.

“In this regard, the National Assembly invites sealed bids from interested, qualified and competent audit firms to provide external audit services for purposes of auditing four years accounts of the office of the Auditor-General.

“There will be a pre-bid meeting with interested firms on Wednesday April 17, 2019 at 11 am on 2nd floor, Protection House, Nairobi in order to elaborate more of the requirements of the tender,” Michael Sialai, the Clerk of the National Assembly said in a newspaper advertisement.

The House will then open the proposals on Wednesday 24, 2019 in the presence of the interested firms who chose to attend or send representative.

This is the fourth time that Parliament is seeking to hire an independent auditor to scrutinise Mr Ouko’s books of accounts. Mr Ouko exits office in August this year without having his books of accounts cleared by an independent auditor and Parliament.

In February, Mr Sialai and Mr Ouko the Public Accounts Committee (PAC) to approve the hiring of services of an international firm to review books of the office of the Auditor-General after three failed attempts to procure a local company.

Mr Sialai revealed that attempts to hire a local firm had failed and asked to be allowed to procure the services of an accountant from any of the Commonwealth countries to undertake the task. Mr Ouko said said there was already a memorandum of understanding with Liberia and that the House could approve the use of Liberia’s audit office.

“As a way forward, we wish to propose to your committee that audit services from Commonwealth jurisdiction be procured along the terms, with necessary modification of the memorandum of understanding entered between the office of the Auditor-General Kenya and General Auditing Commission of Liberia,” said Mr Sialai.

The fresh attempt to float advertisement for a local firm comes almost three years since Parliament voted to reject the appointment of Baker Tilly Meralli's which audited Mr Ouko’s books of accounts prior to 2014.

The House cited conflict of interest. Mr Ouko told PAC that he did not object to Parliament hiring an international firm to audit his accounts.

“We need to find a way of appointing an auditor. Liberian National Audit Office and I have a memorandum of understanding,” Mr Ouko said.

Mr Sialai said an advertisement placed in September 26, 2018 failed to return a responsive bid. He said despite nine firms responding to the proposal, none qualified for scrutinise Mr Ouko’s books.

“In view of the above chronology of events, we have been unable to procure services of an audit firm to audit and report on the accounts of the Auditor-General on account of non-responsiveness of conflict of interest,” said Mr Sialai.

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