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Saturday, 20 June 2020

All set for previously rejected candidate to be Auditor-General

Nancy Janet Kabui Gathungu
When she first sought to head the Kenya National Audit Office (KENAO), President Uhuru Kenyatta’s nominee for the position of Auditor-General and other applicants got a sharp rebuke.
Under the chairmanship of seasoned accountant Sammy Onyango, the selection panel returned a verdict that Ms Nancy Janet Kabui Gathungu and the other applicants lacked the “diplomacy and tact to handle the duties ahead”.
But in a clear manifestation of the proverbial stone first rejected by builders only to later become the cornerstone, she made the final shortlist after the interviews by the new selection panel chaired by former Treasury Principal Administrative Secretary Mutua Kilaka.
President Kenyatta nominated Ms Gathungu to succeed Mr Edward Ouko who left in August 2019 at the end of his non-renewable eight-year term.
“His Excellency President Uhuru Kenyatta has nominated Ms Nancy Janet Kabui Gathungu for the position of Auditor-General. Ms Gathungu was the first among the top three candidates presented to His Excellency the President for nomination by the Recruitment Panel for the Selection of the Auditor-General as set out in law,” State House spokesperson Kanze Dena said in a statement yesterday.
The nomination of Ms Gathungu, which now awaits vetting by Parliament, caps nearly a year during which the office of the Auditor-General has been vacant, with thousands of audit reports pending.
Ms Gathungu was among the 10 candidates who were shortlisted by the Kilaka-led panel.
Others who were shortlisted included Edwin Kipkoech Kamar and Sylvester Kiini, both of whom are currently deputy auditors-general, Benson Okundi, Dr Leonard Rari, Elizabeth Wangui Mwathi, Idris Abdi Abdullahi, Meshack Obiero Onyango, Ms Gathungu, Paul Wangila Masinde and Dennis Theuri Kariuki.
In the statement announcing the nomination, State House said the President had sent the Ms Gathungu’s name to the National Assembly for vetting.
Ms Gathungu is currently the director of audit at the Office of the Auditor-General, a position she has held since 2014. With her nomination, she leapfrogs six of her current seniors at the level of deputy auditor-general: Edwin Kipkoech Kamar, Sylvester Kiini, Fredrick Odhiambo, William Agunda, Joyce Mbaabu and David Njoka.
She has been a speaker at several conferences organised by the OAG and the Institute of Certified Public Accountants and is one of the stars who helped build a no-nonsense reputation for her former boss.
Ms Gathungu served as the Kenyatta National Hospital’s chief internal auditor between 2000 and 2006, where she oversaw the institution’s spending.
Ms Gathungu attained a master’s in Business Administration from the University of Nairobi in 2008. Her thesis covered employees’ perception of strategic change at what would turn out to be her employer two years later – the OAG. She was hired as a deputy director of audit and placed in charge of quality assurance, information technology audit and staff development.
Her nomination to be the next Auditor-General puts her on the verge of being the first woman to hold the position. If confirmed, it will also see the two key independent offices in public finance – the OAG and the Controller of Budget – held by women.

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