Interior Cabinet Secretary (CS) Dr. Fred Matiang’i has challenged accountants in the country to step up and join the government in the fight against corruption in the public service.
Matiang’i assured the professionals that the law will protect them from the employers and clients who will retaliate in a case where they are exposed for corruption.
Speaking during the 39th Annual Seminar for the Institute of Certified Public Accountants of Kenya (ICPAK), Matiang’i tasked accountants to ensure resources allocated to public offices are protected and preserved by ensuring any transaction made is properly documented and has a supportive document.
“You are critical players in ensuring financial accountability in the public sector. The government needs you, you must stand up for your country and we will do much better as a nation,” said Matiang’i.
The CS noted that the government is welcoming ICPAK and the whole private sector to come forward and build institutional partnership to foster economic recovery following the drastic effects of the Coronavirus pandemic.
“Long gone are the days when the government was perceived as an entity that stood on its own, the government is you. A successful government engages constantly with the private sector. Do your bit in ensuring the public resources you have are used in the right manner,” he added.
Matiang’i further raised concerns following the rising cases of corruption recorded at the Ethics and Anti-corruption Commission (EACC) including those involving accountants asking ICPAK to punish their members who are linked to graft.
He said in several cases, accountants have failed to report or register fraudulent activities happening in public sectors and lack of diligence in the use of the Integrated Financial Management Integrated System (IFMIS), which results in misappropriation of public funds.
According to the 2020 Global Kenya Economic Crime and Fraud Survey, Kenyan firms have been reported to have lost Sh5.5 billion from corruption.
The CS stated that more than 14 percent of the Sh5.5 billion loss resulted from accounting and finance statement fraud.
“Corruption is our biggest problem in this country, how are we going to fight poverty if we won’t fight corruption? We are asking you as very important professionals in the management of finance that do not look at the government, stand up and reclaim our country from corruption, come forward and ask more questions, find out what the budget allocated to various offices has done. Effective participation by professionals in the government business will lead to effective service delivery,” Matiang’I said.
ICPAK Chairman George Mokua said that as per the theme of the seminar, “resilience of accountants: weathering the storm for sustainable economic recovery,” the institution is working on recovery strategies especially in the wake of the pandemic.
Mokua said that the move by the institution to move to accrual accounting will streamline and block loopholes that are significant in the financial system and will be beneficial to Kenyans as it will provide transparency.
He added that the accrual accounting system will enhance transparency and accountability in public finance management and improve internal controls which are likely to mitigate against corruption.
“As an institution, we implore upon the National Treasury through the Public Sector Accounting Standards Board to craft a clear roadmap for the implementation of the accrual based accounting in the public sector,” said Mokua.