Auditor-General Edward Ouko has added his voice to the raging debate on the war against corruption even as major scandals continue to unfold and new measures are announced to combat graft.
In an interview with Reuters, Ouko described the levels of graft as ‘shocking’ and warned that it could engulf the nation.
He stated that procurement and payment processes which are needed to be urgently overhauled along with the Integrated Financial Management Information System (IFMIS) which has been at the centre of several cases.
A frustrated Ouko lamented that his reports on the wanton looting of state resourses had been ignored as were his proposals to fix IFMIS after corruption cases in President Uhuru Kenyatta’s first term.
“It makes me angry that the weaknesses which we had revealed about IFMIS’ potential abuses were not acted upon.
“If we don’t watch out, it will engulf us,” Ouko stated in the interview.
He explained how Parliament in 2014 ignored and failed to implement the changes he recommended for the system.
Ouko noted that he produced a report for parliament that laid bare how Sh1.6 Billion “went out of the window” in a 2015 scandal at the National Youth Service (NYS), and many of the same tactics he identified were deployed by masterminds of the ongoing Sh9 Billion case at the same institution.
Despite studying the report, lawmakers failed to take any action to correct the key issues of flawed procurement and payment systems he had uncovered.
He, however, expressed support for President Kenyatta’s recent directives meant to deal with graft; such as fresh vetting for procurement and accounting officers, publication of tender award details by government institutions and lifestyle audits for all government officials which he announced in Mombasa on Thursday.
“The tone is correct right now,” he stated.
Ouko, however, questioned whether the program would meet its objectives given the involvement of agencies which he described as ‘poorly run’ such as the Ethics and Anti-Corruption Commission (EACC).