In Summary
  • The OAG’s openness and transparency has, however, come at a cost.

  • Most Kenyans are not trained accountants and so are likely to misunderstand the audit reports if they are not properly guided.

  • But the OAG has not done enough to prepare its work products for public consumption.

  • In fact, the reports are often reported to contain findings they do not.

One of the most critical public offices created by the new Constitution was the Office of the Auditor-General (OAG). The supreme law recognised the importance of an independent OAG, clarified its duties and conferred upon its occupant security of tenure and significant powers and responsibilities.

TRANSPARENCY

Article 229 gave the OAG the responsibility to determine whether public funds are used lawfully and effectively. The office was to be occupied by a high-calibre professional with a demonstrable high level of integrity, training, experience and professional achievement. The occupant would form the vanguard of protecting public funds. And so it was when the distinguished Edward Ouko was appointed Auditor-General on August 27, 2011.

With just a month left in his non-renewable eight-year term, let’s examine Mr Ouko’s legacy. That the man is an astute professional of the highest possible quality is not in doubt. I could be biased though, as we both cut our professional teeth in the same white-shoe audit firm, albeit at different times.

Mr Ouko has boldly gone where others before him feared to tread. His reports attempt, in painstaking detail, to map out theft and wastage of public funds. Despite serious opposition (at one time from the President) and having to fight an uphill battle, AG Ouko has not wavered nor lost focus in the performance of his mandate.

That takes grit, a substance in rather short supply these days.

His office has performed its duties with unprecedented openness and transparency, publishing its reports online where anybody can access them. There is, probably, no other public officer whose work has produced as many front-page headlines as AG Ouko’s.

'STOLEN FUNDS'

Page 1 of 2