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Ouko has never filed returns to the President, House told

The auditor-general has never submitted to the President annual reports of his activities and operations as required by the Constitution, the President’s Chief of Staff has told a parliamentary committee.

There have also never been similar reports to Parliament, the Clerk of the National Assembly told the House’s finance committee. It’s investigation of a petition to remove the auditor-general, Mr Edward Ouko, (right) has been suspended.

The committee broke its silence on the submissions of Chief of Staff Joseph Kinyua and Parliamentary Clerk Justin Bundi in a report to the House on its progress in its deliberations before the suspension.

This proves that Mr Emmanuel Mwagonah, the man behind the petition for the removal of Mr Ouko from office, was correct about the returns.

The committee also confirmed that Mr Kinyua made written submissions and did not meet the MPs in person.

SUBMIT REPORT

The law requires the auditor-general to submit a report to the President and to Parliament at the end of each financial year.

Mr Kinyua said that the report would be a narration of the work undertaken by the auditor-general during the year.

Mr Ouko has been in office since August 2011 and is to leave next year after serving for a non-renewable term of six years.

Mr Bundi retired early this year and was succeeded by Mr Michael Sialai Rotich.

That report would include key milestones, challenges, strategies used to overcome them and the way forward.

LEAVE OFFICE

“Although the legal requirement for reporting to the President by the Auditor-General is amply clear, records at the Executive Office of the President do not show the Auditor-General as having ever submitted any such report to the President,” said Mr Kinyua.

Mr Ouko has been in office since August 2011 and is expected to leave office next year after serving one non-renewable term of six years.

Similarly, Justin Bundi, who was the Clerk of the National Assembly when the petition on Mr Ouko was received in the House, said the reports have not been sent to the House.

“While the Auditor-General has regularly been presenting audit reports of other institutions pursuant to Article 229, a perusal of our records indicates that the Office of the Auditor-General has not presented any report on his office to Parliament as required by Article 254 (1) of the Constitution,” said Mr Bundi. .

FINANCIAL ACCOUNTS

The matter could form one of the central debates if the petition ever gets to be considered by the House as the Auditor-General’s interpretation of the requirement that he submit a report is different from what the National Assembly and the Office of the President think.

“The report contemplated by Article 254 (1) of the Constitution is not the Audit Report but is a report containing the financial accounts of the Office of the Auditor-General,” Mr Ouko told the committee.

He said the job of scrutinising how the Office of the Auditor-General has spent the money allocated by Parliament was the job of audit firm Baker Tilly Merali’s, which was given the job by the National Assembly.

The Office of the Auditor-General’s accounts were audited up to the financial year 2013/14 and the National Assembly is yet to appoint an audit firm to do the job for the subsequent years.

The Finance Committee said it is hopeful “that the matters in court will be expedited and judiciously concluded to allow the National Assembly to play its constitutional role in consideration of the petition.”

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