October 22nd 2017

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Exclusive – Special Treasury team to audit Ministry of Health over Sh5 billion scandal

The appointment of Treasury insiders for the delicate assignment, where the president’s relatives have been accused of getting lucrative government tenders irregularly, will be seen as part of a whitewash exercise.

By Free Press Reporternewsdesk@kenyafreepress.comSaturday, 05 Nov 2016 16:14 EAT

Treasury cabinet secretary Henry Rotich.

The government has appointed a special team of auditors to review the controversial Interim Financial Audit Report prepared by an internal auditor at the Ministry of Health that alleges the loss of more than Sh5 billion through fictitious payments, the Kenya Free Press has learnt.

The team of four experienced auditors from the National Treasury, appointed by the Internal Auditor General and the cabinet secretary, will start work at the ministry on Monday even as the scandal is still under investigation by the Ethics and Anti-Corruption Commission and other government agencies. Treasury cabinet secretary

After a week-long review of the questions raised in the report and political implications, the government considered four approaches of dealing with the scandal, viz: the suspension of cabinet secretary Cleopa Mailu and his PS Nicholas Muraguri, the invitation of the Auditor General’s office, the appointment of special external auditors from a reputable accounting firm, and the secondment of Treasury auditors to do the job.

Each of the first three options was seen as carrying potential risks as the government wouldn’t be able to control the flow of information or direction of the audit, in addition to the likely creation of a spinoff narrative indicating graver crisis at the ministry. With such concerns, the internal audit department was asked to recommend the four officers who have since been appointed for the job.

Aware that the appointment of Treasury insiders for the delicate assignment, where the president’s relatives have been accused of getting lucrative government tenders irregularly, will be seen as part of a whitewash exercise, the government made a decision to make the special audit team’s appointment a top level secret.

The team’s mandate, according a source at the Treasury, will be to review the interim audit report prepared by Mr Bernard Muchere and get the feedback of top ministry officials as required in standard auditing procedures for the government. This narrow mandate means that the auditors will try to complete the work Mr Muchere had started in respect to his interim report which was leaked to the media before the auditee’s views were incorporated.

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