New Senate Bill seeks to establish Parliamentary Audit Office - Beaking Kenya News

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Saturday, 2 January 2021

New Senate Bill seeks to establish Parliamentary Audit Office


Parliament will soon have a fully established audit office if a draft Senate Bill is approved by the two Houses and signed into law by the President.

The Parliamentary Audit Office Bill, 2020 seeks to establish the office to analyse and decipher for the members the many audit reports Parliament receives from the Office of the Auditor General.

The office will be a replica of the Parliamentary Budget Office that analyses and breaks down huge budget documents for the members.

The draft proposed law is sponsored by Jubilee nominated Senator Isaac Mwaura and is under pre-publication scrutiny before publication and introduction on the floor for first reading.

“The Parliamentary Audit Office Bill is a Bill to enable members of Parliament, both the Senate and the National Assembly, to make sense of the huge audit reports as submitted by the auditor,” Mwaura said.

Parliament receives at least 300 audit reports from national and county government entities annually. They are ministries, departments and agencies as well as the county governments.

Mwaura said in most cases, members do not make sense of the report because of their volumes nature and limited time they have to comb through them.

“We are supposed to make a quick decision as members within a very short time because a parliamentary meeting does not take more than two hours. And yet we are also doing other things – social work, attending other committees, travel and so on,” he said in his justification for the Bill.

“In most cases, we don’t look at the fine details of the reports and make sense out of them other than the optics of politics,” he added.

Just like PBO, which is equipped with fiscal analysts to scrunitise huge financial documents and give the members technical advice, Parliamentary Audit Office  should be established to simply audit reports for them.

“ [The] work of the PBO is to bake the cake but we don’t have anyone who analyses the effects of the cake on human body. We have actually been accused of being like morticians."

“The whole idea is to capacitate members of parliament by having auditors at parliament who then will speak to the Kenya National Audit Office and the various audit committee of various county assemblies,” he said.

“This office will actively be auditing as things happen so that those quarterly reports by OAG can now make sense rather than waiting for the final year. She submits the quarterly reports but who reads?” he posed.

The legislator added that most members of Parliament do not have the know-how on audit and accounting matters and thus the office will come in handy.

“They don’t have that capacity. These are politicians drawn from all walks of life and most of them do not have accounting or financial background,” he asserted.

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