MPs panel warns Mailu

A parliamentary watchdog committee has warned Health Cabinet Secretary Cleopas Mailu that he risks being surcharged for misusing public resources, if goes ahead and hires external auditors to go through the ministry’s book of accounts following reports that some Sh5.3 billion have gone missing.

Dr Mailu said early this week that an external auditor will be hired to examine the finance records at the ministry after an internal audit report queried the use of the funds.

But the National Assembly’s Public Accounts Committee argues that the minister will be violating the Constitution by inviting external auditors.

The committee now says that he should be prepared to pay for the services should he go ahead and invite the auditors.

“If he goes ahead and does it, we as the PAC will ensure he is personally surcharged of any of the costs incurred,” Committee chairman Nicholas Gumbo said.

Gumbo reckoned that inviting an independent auditor will be illegal for any government institution.

“Such an action clearly violates provisions of Article 226 (3) of the Constitution. Under the law, only the Auditor General is mandated to audit government accounts,” he added.

According to the constitution Article 226 (4), only the office of the Auditor General Dr. Edward Ouko is mandated to audit government expenditure.

Gumbo further warned that such action could lead to Dr Mailu’s impeachment as a Cabinet Secretary.

Mailu had at the weekend said the ministry would call in independent auditors to verify claims the ministry had lost Sh3.1 billion.

He accused the ministry’s internal auditor of leaking an incomplete report to the media, when the management had not responded to the queries raised.

The opposition have already expressed fears that by inviting an external auditor the government would be trying to cover up the alleged scandal.

The Orange Democratic Movement (ODM) held that they will not allow any other audit apart from the one to be done by the Auditor General, once the internal audit is complete.

On Wednesday, Narc party leader Martha Karua said the conflicting statements by Dr Mailu and his Principal Secretary Nicholas Muraguri was a clear indication of a cover up of the alleged scandal.

“We find the statement by CS Health Mailu very disappointing, inconsistent and symptomatic of a cover up, including his indication to hire a private external auditor at a public expense,” Karua said.

“We remind him that the office of the Auditor General has only one client, namely the government of Kenya. To the best of our knowledge, the ministry is yet to seek the help and service of the auditor General,” she added.

 

 

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