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Auditor General: Let’s embrace social accountability

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FCPA Sir Edward Ouko, outgoing Auditor- General speaking at UoN on Tue Aug 27, 2019

The outgoing Auditor General, Edward Ouko implored on the Kenyans of integrity to stand up and be counted in the fight against corruption. He was speaking at the University of Nairobi on August 27, 2019.

Speaking on the topic ‘Public sector accountability: constitutionalism and social perspective’, the outgoing Auditor General took the opportunity to reflect on the success stories and challenges during his 8 year tenure. He explained that going forward the Office of the Auditor General will work hand in hand with young people, civil organizations, people of integrity across all the 47 counties in conducting social audits. These people will be equipped with basic auditing skills and will help the Office of the Auditor General in following up development projects and monitoring the utilization of public funds. In doing this, he observed that as the Office of the Auditor General, they will be efficient and effective in monitoring usage of public funds. Further, they will be able to report financial risks as the development project progresses unlike in the current situation where financial misappropriation is reported years later.

Among the success stories he enumerated include: employee motivation, improving staff morale, construction of staff houses and satellite offices, working closely with the investigative agencies including Ethics and Anti-Corruption Commission, EACC, Director of Criminal Investigations, DCI, Director of Public Prosecutions, DPP.

On challenges he faced during his tenure in office, Edward Ouko, challenged Kenyans to explore ways of having separation of powers between the Head of State and Head of Government. Mr. Ouko explained that auditing the president is a major challenge. He explained that the appointment of his next successor, should be done on meritocracy as opposed to being appointed by the President. Appointment by the President would limit the independence of the Office of the Auditor General. He outlined his everyday fears, threats by government bureaucrats and cartels who thrive on corrupt dealings. “My wife and family is always worried about my safety,” he said.  

“We draw our mandate from Article 229 of the Constitution. We are required by law to review records, accountability systems and ensure that the Executive, Judiciary, National Assembly, County Governments, manage finances well. The Auditor General shall confirm that public money is well spent, “he said. He explained that the Office of the Auditor General had been expanded by the implementation of the new constitution which came with the devolved governments. “We had a constitution which brought forward devolved governments, but unfortunately, the resources didn’t follow suit,” he said. 

Going forward the Office of the Auditor General has to remodel itself. The Auditor General observed at they need to do continuous auditing to ensure that monies are well spent. “Has the Money had an impact? Has the project made a change to the ordinary people on the ground? We need to stretch the frontiers of accountability. Ordinary citizens must be involved in accountability. We need to involve the civil society, individuals of repute, students. We need to embrace social accountability aspect”, he concluded.

University of Nairobi Vice Chancellor, Prof. Isaac Mbeche, congratulated Edward Ouko on the successful completion of his 8 year tenure. He took time to appreciate the partnership between the office of the Auditor General and University of Nairobi, “This is the third lecture in a series of lectures delivered by the Auditor General at the University of Nairobi. These lectures have accorded the Auditor- General an opportunity to share with Kenyans the challenges and vision relating to the implementation of the Kenyan Constitution 2010.” He was represented by the Prof. Julius Ogeng’o, Deputy vice Chancellor, Academic Affairs.


 He as well read out the biography of Edward Ouko, an Alumnus of the University of Nairobi, a Bachelor of Commerce graduate. Before his appointment to the Office of the Auditor General, Edward Ouko was the Auditor General at the African Development Bank. He was previously working in London with the international auditing firm Delloite. Edward Ouko is a fellow at the Institute of Public Accountants, (ICPAK).

The event was attended by staff, students and members of the public.

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