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Bring to book those stealing public funds from Kenyans

EDITORIAL
By The Standard | August 3rd 2016

NAIROBI: Periodically, as a requirement, the Auditor General makes public reports on how the Executive has used public funds.

The office of the Auditor General provides Parliament with independently derived audit information about the Executive arm of Government. Previously, the Auditor General has talked about "disturbing problems" with Government accounting. So although the Auditor General has been consistent in releasing timely reports, what has changed is the extent of misuse of funds and the lack of action taken to recover lost money.

According to the Auditor General, in 2013-2014, only a quarter of the Sh1.6 trillion budget could be accounted for. More disturbing is that the public has inured itself to this ritual of releasing reports and the apparent lack of action.

In most of the reports, there are detailed cases where some of the expenditure did not have supporting documents, violating the most basic of accounting principles expected of any Government official. It is disconcerting to see that despite the catalogue of how hard-earned public funds are misspent, misallocated or, in worst case scenarios, looted with no trace, no action is taken.

It is not enough to tell the public that their money has been misappropriated if nobody is made to account for the losses. There has to be a deliberate effort to bring those responsible to book.

President Uhuru Kenyatta has spoken loudly about corruption and misuse of public money. In fact, in his State of the Nation address in March, he warned that those "who chose the way of graft would be brought to book." Months later, there is little being heard from the specialised division of the High Court, yet 90 prosecutors were deployed to try corruption cases. If only they could make use of the goldmine that is to be found in the Auditor General's reports. 

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