African leaders should heed call on democracyTreasury dismisses Auditor-General over missing funds

By: LILIAN OCHIENG

The National Treasury on Thursday dismissed claims by the Auditor General’s office that large sums of money involving government ministries went missing.

Treasury said the documents showing the expenditure for the Sh66.7 billion deals by the ministries are there but were not made available to the Auditor General in good time.

“We have since established that though most ministries, departments and state agencies provided the necessary documents to office of the Auditor General during the final stages of audit review, these were not taken into account before the report was submitted to the National Assembly,” said a statement signed by National Treasury Cabinet Secretary Henry Rotich yesterday.

Auditor- General Edward Ouko in a report released last week raised alarm over questionable spending by 17 ministries and state departments in the last financial year.

In the report, Mr Ouko noted that the money was part of inflated purchases by county governments on non- priority areas such as travel for elected officials.

While refuting claims by Mr Ouko, Mr Rotich said the AG sought additional information for the missing links and received them. He however failed to take the contributions into account when concluding the audit report.

The Ministry of Health was highlighted by Mr Ouko for inability to explain Sh22.5 billion expenditure. Treasury however defended the ministry saying that there were supporting documents to indicate that the expenditures were proper.

“The Ministry of Health and the County Governments entered into agreements for the Ministry of Health to assist county governments in the payment of salaries for the first half of the financial year 2013/14,” said Treasury.

Further, Mr Rotich added that the amounts paid by the Ministry of Health were widely circulated to many stakeholders including the Office of the Auditor General, Controller of Budget, Commission on Revenue Allocation, Transition Authority and Council of Governors.

Treasury also stated that documents for the Sh22 billion expenditure by the Ministry of Transport and Infrastructure were also handed over to the Auditor General and are now available for further review.

Mr Rotich also said that National Police Service Commission spent Sh24.4 million on office rent but not Sh31 million as mentioned by the Auditor –General, supportive documents are available for review.

“Going forward, it is imperative that offices mandated with critical oversight functions such as the Auditor General do not compromise professional standards by making conclusions without thorough engagement with their clients to resolve any outstanding audit matters,” said the statement by Treasury.