The National Assembly Finance and National Planning Committee has gone into a retreat to consider the suitability of the Auditor General nominee Nancy Gathungu as it seeks to end a 10-month wait for a new holder of the office.
President Uhuru Kenyatta’s nominee to the position was interviewed by the committee last Friday, bringing hope that the position that has been vacant since August last year could finally be filled.
Conclusive auditing of ministries, State corporations and government agencies has greatly been affected by the absence of a substantive holder of the position since the term of the former holder, Edward Ouko, ended last year.
Though the auditing has been going on, the audit reports cannot be presented to respective organs that are supposed to consider them as the law requires that only the substantive holder of the position can sign audit reports before they are presented to Parliament or respective county assemblies.
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During her vetting, Ms Gathungu told the committee that there was need to amend the Public Audit Act to ensure continuity in the office whenever the position falls vacant.
She said the continued absence of a substantive office holder had hampered submission of audited reports for many government agencies and corporations, some of which are now in breach of the set constitutional timelines.
After Ouko’s exit on August 27, 2019, a selection panel was appointed by President Kenyatta, but failed to find a suitable successor, prompting a re-advertisement of the position that finally led to the selection of Gathungu.
Gathungu said a follow-up mechanism for the implementation of the audit recommendation that comes from the Audit Office and from Parliament were key in ensuring effectiveness of the audit process.