Principal secretaries whose dockets have audit queries risk being barred from holding public office after the National Assembly adopted the report of the Public Accounts Committee (PAC) on the audited accounts of the national government.
It will now be mandatory for the National Treasury to present to the National Assembly the Appropriation Bill together with a list of individuals designated as accounting officers in government ministries, departments and agencies (MDAS) for approval, before a new financial year begins.
The move, according to the PAC chairman Opiyo Wandayi, aims to check widespread corruption within the public service and ensure Kenyans get good value for the monies annually appropriated by MPs to government agencies.
“Any accounting officer whose entity received a qualified opinion should not be eligible for designation as accounting officer unless cleared in writing by the auditor,” the approved PAC report for the financial year 2016/17 says. The adoption of the report means Treasury has three months to take action against the then principal secretary for the State Department of Natural Resources over financial irregularities.
The Auditor-General is also required to undertake a special audit on the treasury bonds and bills from 2012 to 2019 within three months and appropriately update the MPs.
Accounting officers who made irregular payment for goods and services during the year under review will also be investigated and if found culpable, charged for financial misconduct. Those who fail to manage imprests by ensuring that they are duly surrendered in time will also face sanctions.
The Treasury CS will be required to take administrative action against all accounting officers whose entities receive a disclaimer of opinion as from 2016/17. It will also be incumbent upon Treasury to establish an independent review of the suitability of the Integrated Financial Management Information System (IFMIS) platform in budget execution to ensure that it provides efficient financial management for both the national and county governments. Accounting officers will also be required to undertake day-to-day accounts reconciliations in the system.
Government entities must now also keep comprehensive asset registers in order to protect public assets.