President Uhuru Kenyatta has nominated Nancy Janet Kabui Gathungu for Auditor General.
In a statement to newsrooms, State House Spokesperson Kanze Dena said the nominee’s name has been forwarded to the National Assembly for vetting.
According to State House, Ms. Gathungu emerged first among the top three candidates presented to President Kenyatta for nomination by the recruitment panel.
Prior to her nomination, Gathungu worked as the Director of Audit in the Office of the Auditor General.
The office of the AG fell vacant in August 2019 following the retirement of Edward Ouko after an eventful eight years at the helm of the office.
President Kenyatta has been widely criticized for refusing to nominate an Auditor General with many Kenyans fearing that vacancy in the office was a loophole for looting public coffers.
Amani National Congress (ANC) Leader Musalia Mudavadi is among those who had voiced their concerns over the vaccany saying it was casting the government as an institution that does not want to be transparent.
“Why is it taking too long to have a new Auditor-General in office? Is it a scheme by some people who don’t want an Auditor-General in office so that they can effectively steal from public coffers? Or a cartel that is looking for a politically correct man?” Mudavadi posed in an interview with Citizen TV earlier this month.
“In the absence of an Auditor-General, it can take us up to five years following up on graft that will occur in 2020. This is because cartels accused of stealing will demand proper records of accounts by an auditor presented in court. We must hurry up and have a substantive Auditor General in office,” added Mudavadi.
In an interview earlier this week Former Auditor General Edward Ouko concurred with Mudavadi stating from experience that the vacancy was a window for theft.
“It is something of concern. When the cat is away, the rats may be all over the place. So there is that element that at this point in time there is a window of opportunity for those who really want to dip their hands into public coffers,” said Ouko.
“I really don’t see the reason for this gap. Recruitment should have started much earlier. Of course, those who waited said a vacancy had to be declared. I really don’t see the legal sense of that. The auditor’s office is not one where you don’t need to take a vote or hold an election. It is a professional office. So I am at loss why with the knowledge that a vacancy was approaching why that could not have been handled.” he added.
During his time as Auditor General, Ouko had numerous run ins with the executive and was at one time lampooned by President Kenyatta for exposing corruption in the government.
During the interview, Ouko also revealed that the government withdrew his security and benefits, which were due to him when his term expired nine months ago condemning him to living in fear while in retirement.
“It is very difficult to tell you whether or not I am secure. Thank God for the last nine months I have been able to move around but all the securities were withdrawn. Some allowances than were due before I left office have not been paid up to now. But others like gratuity are now being worked on,” said Ouko.