PS Nicholas Muraguri wanted to eject auditor from Health ministry, letter shows

Health Principal Secretary Nicholas Muraguri

Senior government officials tried to transfer the auditor who unearthed the Sh5 billion scandal at the Health ministry.

Health Principal Secretary Nicholas Muraguri initiated the move, claiming the job needed more senior auditors and was backed by Treasury Cabinet Secretary Henry Rotich.

However, it is not clear why the attempt on July 12 was dropped. Bernard Muchere, who was leading the audit at the Health ministry, stayed on to issue the interim report which has shaken Kenya.

A letter seen by The Standard calling for the transfer of Mr Muchere and his team was authored only weeks after his arrival in June at Afya House.

Dr Muraguri wrote to Rotich on July 12 asking for the posting of “internal auditors in senior positions” apparently to replace Muchere and his team.

“The purpose of this letter, therefore, is to request for posting of internal auditors in senior positions who are conversant with audit of donor projects and other funds,” Muraguri wrote in the letter dated July 12, 2016.

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But instructions scribbled on July 19 on the letter, apparently by Rotich, directs the Internal Auditor General, the boss of the auditors, to “get a senior officer for the ministry and redeploy the current one to another ministry.”

Muchere is the president of the Association of Certified Fraud examiners – Kenya Chapter.

HUGE AMOUNTS

Health Cabinet Secretary Cleopa Mailu is said to have been out of the country at the time.

Among grounds the request was based on was the ministry handled huge amounts from donors who demand high transparency levels.

“During the past few financial years, the ministry has been getting qualified audit reports due to ineligible expenditures which could have been avoided if strong internal controls were in place,” added the PS in his letter.

Kenya has been forced to return hundreds of millions of shillings to donors in funds mismanaged or stolen at the ministry.

Yesterday, Rotich had not responded to inquiries about the procedure of Muraguri’s request, and if Dr Mailu should have been in the know about a potential replacement of a senior auditor.

Mailu declined to comment on whether it was procedural for his PS to write directly to the Treasury CS, instead referring The Standard to Muraguri.

“I would prefer you ask the PS (Muraguri) himself. Thank you,” Mailu said in a response sent via a text message.

Muraguri, too, did not respond to our inquiries about the intended transfer of Muchere, while calls to his mobile phone went unanswered.

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