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PSASB urges counties to enhance audit systems to combat graft

The Public Sector Accounting Standard Board [PSASB] has tasked the County Audit Committees to strengthen their internal audit systems and mechanisms to curb misappropriation of public funds.

According to PSASB chair Pius Nduati, the move seeks to align the counties with the government zero-fault audit directive, where all pending audit queries must be cleared by June next year.

Nduati said the board has put in place the necessary policies and audit manuals that will guide the county audit committee in resolving all audit queries involving the utilisation of public funds.

Since the inception of devolved units, the Auditor General Office has for years raised audit queries running into billions of shillings arising from unsupported use of public funds through recurrent and development expenditures.

The Auditor General has, for instance, raised key audit queries such as funds used without proper documents such as invoices and vouchers, loss of funds to ghost workers, and breach of procurement laws, among others.

Nduati tasked the county audit teams to explore strategies to enhance the governance systems of audit systems and align them with international best practices to enhance accountability and transparency of financial resources.

“Efficient internal audit systems are critical towards ensuring prudent management of financial resources and entrenching good governance and accountability in both national and county governments”, said Nduati.

The board chair tasked the county audit departments with putting in place preventive measures, including the adoption of technology, to ensure all audit queries are addressed on time.

On his part, PSASB CEO Fredrick Riaga said all county audit departments must transition from cash accounting systems to accrual accounting in the next three years to enhance accountability in the use of public resources.

Speaking during a sensitization workshop of county audit teams in Naivasha, Riaga said the strengthening of audit systems will mitigate and cushion the public from financial losses.

According to the Head of Audit at the Council of Governors, Andrew Musungu, there is a need for continuous training of audit committee members on emerging trends and best practices to ensure proper use of funds.

Musungu said the Council of Governors has partnered with the Ethics and Anti-Corruption Commission to strengthen governance systems in county governments in order to seal all corruption loopholes.

In addition, Musungu said EACC has continuously helped counties carry out corruption risk assessments and develop policies such as anti-corruption, whistleblower, and conflict of interest policies that have enhanced governance structures.

“Efficient audit systems ensure public resources are prudently utilised in county governments for effective service delivery to Kenyans”, he said.

By Erastus Gichohi

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