Treasury Trashes Auditor General’s Queries on Sh66.8 Billion ‘Missing’ Cash

The National Treasury has denied that Sh66.8 billion out of the Sh1.59 trillion budget for financial year 2013/2014 may have ended up in the pockets of individuals.

Cabinet secretary Henry Rotich has rubbished the Auditor General Edward Ouko’s draft report to the National Assembly on Monday, saying it was rushed and short of international standards of auditing.

Rotich said the Auditor General’s Office allowed accounting officers “very limited period” to respond and that the office did not hold final audit review meetings “with most accounting officers if not all”.

“We have since established that most MDAs (ministries, departments and agencies) provided the necessary supportive documents to office of the Auditor General during the final stages of audit review but these were not taken into account before the report was submitted to the National Assembly,” he said in a press statement.

“A few, however, were not able to provide supportive records or documents on time, but the records and documents are available.”

This, the CS argues, is in breach of International Standards of Auditing No. 260 paragraph 16 on discussions with management.

Rotich claims that Ouko’s office further acted in violation of International Standards of Supreme Audit Institutions No. 30 on independence, objectivity and impartiality during the audit review work.

“This would have provided an opportunity for accounting officers to clarify any outstanding issues including provision of supporting documents,” he said.

The trustee of public funds also claims that the auditor general may not have factored management comments submitted by the MDAs when the office “apparently” sought additional clarification.

“These consultations must have brought clarity to all questions raised and resolved outstanding issues,” Rotich says. “It is, however, unfortunate that these were not taken into account when concluding the audit report.”

He termed auditor’s report that the Office of the Attorney General and Department of Justice did not account for Sh2.7 billion as “not logical”.

The AG office accounted for Sh2.2 billion out of the Sh3.3 billion allocated, Rotich claims, with Sh1 billion being spent on personnel emoluments and Sh1.2 billion on transfers to various State Corporations.

The Sh22.5 billion alleged to have been misappropriated by the ministry of Health, he argues, was spent on paying salaries of health workers devolved during the first half of the year(July to December 2013) following an agreement with county governments.

“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,” Rotich said.

He also defended ministry of Agriculture against allegations of misusing Sh1.2 billion, and the National Police Commission’s questionable Sh24.4 million on rent, saying supportive records were provided to the Auditor General’s office.

“The National Treasury is compiling the full list of all MDAs where expenditures are classified as unsupported in the Auditor-General report to demonstrate that indeed the records are available and that no public funds were lost as alleged,” he said.