Capital FM (Nairobi)

25 August 2014

Kenya: Ouko Wants Public Accountants 'To Get Serious'

Nairobi — Auditor General Edward Ouko wants provision of sound financial audit reports by all public accountants to be included in their performance contracts.

Ouko disclosed that a majority of public accountants in most State agencies continue to hand in reports to his office with many hitches which delay the process of compiling his final report as well as encourage corruption.

He says one of the outstanding mistakes is having recorded spending on their financial statements without documents to show accountability.

"Somebody presents to you figures. Then you ask them where they came from and there are no supporting documents. This is very critical because people are employed to work from 8am to 5pm to prepare those records," Ouko said.

For example during the 2013/2014 audit report, out of the 350 statements handed to his office, only 50 passed the test.

Ouko says if the trend continues it will encourage wastage in government offices with no one being held accountable.

"How would you have records with no supporting documents? When you reach this stage you start getting worried whether those resources are not being accounted for properly," he says.

The Auditor General was speaking on Monday during a training workshop for accountants from parastatals on public sector accounting standards and new reporting templates.

All public accountants are expected to adopt new standards and uniform reporting formats in preparing fresh 2013/2014 financial statements under the new Public Finance Management Act.

"The new guidelines we have bring what we would call professional rigour and responsibility. That is, they are going to tell the people that, you are by this date expected to have cleaned up your books, to be prepared for the auditor and have the basis on which you are preparing the accounts," Ouko said.

Accountant General at National Treasury Bernard Ndung'u noted that hitches in the financial reports are also due to senior accountants delegating all the tasks to junior officers who may not have all the proper skills on how to put the records together.

"I will soon issue a circular that in your performance contract, the issue of clean reports will be a main and permanent feature. And this has to work, it will not be business as usual," Ndung'u warned.

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