EACC gives counties 60 days to set up internal units to counter corruption

Integrity Centre that hosts Ethics and Anti-Corruption Commission (EACC) offices

Integrity Centre that hosts Ethics and Anti-Corruption Commission (EACC) offices in Nairobi.


Photo credit: File | Nation Media Group

The anti-corruption watchdog has given county governments a period of 60 days to set up internal audit units and an asset registry to prevent the loss of public resources to unscrupulous individuals.

Ethics and Anti-Corruption Commission (EACC) Chief Executive Officer (CEO) Twalib Mubarak in a circular said the units will play a crucial role in fighting corruption by identifying loopholes and recommending measures of mitigating corruption.

“The internal audit units play an important role in reviewing the systems that have been put in place by the management to provide assurance in the adequacy and effectiveness of the internal controls which are crucial in safeguarding the public assets and ensuring prudence in the use of organizational resources,” Mr Twalib said.

Mr Twalib also said that a corruption risk assessment carried out by the commission revealed that most of the public assets owned by the devolved units are not registered while those registered are not insured by the counties.

“We have observed that some of the fixed asset registers are not maintained or updated. Some of the recorded maintained are not comprehensive and they do not capture the pertinent issues such as the serial number, value and allocation and location of the assets,” he added. 

The assessment also showed that a number of assets are still registered in the name of the defunct local authorities with EACC saying a number of county governors have been colluding with officials who worked in the authorities to sign and transfer the public assets to their names. The internal audit units are expected to be operational both at the county executive level and at the 47 county assemblies.

The commission also observed that although some of the counties have internal audit units, these units currently report to the chief officers for finance in the counties and the clerk for the assemblies which is contrary to the Public Finance Management Act. The Act stipulates that the units are expected to report to the internal audit committees which are not operational in the counties.

A number of county departments were also put on the spot by the commission for failing to collaborate with the existing county internal auditors in providing documentation and information to help the county audit departments.

This even as it emerged that a total of 21 governors including first time governors and those serving in their second terms are currently under probe for the misappropriation of funds belonging to the counties.

According to the EACC Spokesperson Eric Ngumbi, the commission will forward the investigation files to the Directorate of Public Prosecutions (DPP) in the coming weeks.

“We have a number of governors who got into office and in the first year they embarked on misappropriating the county resources. The commission will be updating the public once each of the files is investigated and forwarded to the prosecutor,” Mr Ngumbi added.

Mr Ngumbi also attributed the rampant corruption in the counties to systematic problems that have remained unresolved since devolution started in the country. The commission is looking at resolving these systematic issues.

He has also said the commission will focus on applying civil suit for the freezing of stolen public resources due to delays that are usually experienced in the prosecution of court cases.