AG Ouko calls on State to evaluate Ifmis

Auditor General Edward Ouko has called for a review of the Integrated Financial Management Information System (Ifmis) to improve accountability in financial reporting in counties.

Mr Ouko who was participating in a panel discussion at the Sixth Annual Devolution Conference in Kirinyaga County yesterday, noted that Ifmis has become a perennial audit challenge in the counties.

This is because the system was originally designed for the national government.

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He explained that various audits had revealed problems facing all 47 counties as they try to handle Ifmis. Their records hardly tally with the system’s records.

Two systems

“Every time we conduct an audit we find the two - county and IFMIS - records do not match,” said Ouko.

“And this worries me. We must have a candid conversation on whether the system is good or bad for counties.”

The Auditor General proposed the development of two Ifmis systems. One tailored for counties, and the other for the National Government.

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He said it was important to develop the Information and Communication infrastructure (ICT) that we have, in order to come up with a better Ifmis system.

Ouko lauded governors for being more open and involved in the audit processes in their various counties, making the audit process easier to carry out.

However Ouko admitted that some of the staff within his office have been colluding with governors to cover up audit queries.

A situation he said he was addressing internally.

“I admit that there are some issues within my office involving my staff. We have put in place measures to curb such kind of corruption,” said Ouko.

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“I challenge governors to also be forthright and stop finding ways to circumvent audits.”

Makueni Senator Mutula Kilonzo Jr, who was also part of the panel, noted the improvement in the ability to oversee counties.

According to Mr Kilonzo, governors have been attending Public Accounts Committee (PAC) sessions to answer audit queries without fail.

“Governors have showed up at the Senate to answer audit queries, and we even have a governor who was fined Sh250,000 for failing to appear before the committee, so we are making progress,” Kilonzo said.

The Senator, however, said it was unfortunate that the county assembly PAC committees and internal audit committees within the Executive had failed to do their jobs.

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Kilonzo said both entities hardly carry out clerical audits that should be handled internally.

Shoestring budget

“County assembly PAC need to tell us what challenges they are facing because they are not handling the basic queries that can be addressed at the county level,” he said.

Kilonzo added that article 225 of the Constitution was clear that the Senate has the right to stop allocations of funds to a county, if there are concerns raised in the Quarterly Controller of Budget implementation reports.

“Instead of waiting for a whole year to address audit of funds, the Senate can act immediately when there is an issue raised in the reports is addressed,” He noted.

Mutula called for the implementation of the revenue sharing proposal where funding should go to counties which have functioning internal audit committees.

He called for the increase in funding to the office of the Auditor General, which he said was a critical office that has been operating on a shoestring budget.

Ouko also announced that his office has just completed the audit reports for the year ended June 2018.

“We are focused on reducing the amount of time spent to release of such reports from eight months to about three months,” he said.

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Auditor General Edward OukoIfmisSixth Annual Devolution ConferenceKirinyaga County