BY DAMA KALAMA
The institute of certified public accountants of Kenya ICPAK has warned it will suspended and deregistered members implicated in the Kenya Medical Supplies Authority (Kemsa) scandal.
ICPAK chair Rose Mwaura stated categorically that the institute was keenly awaiting ongoing probe by the Ethics and Anti-Corruption commission EACC after which it will initiate its own disciplinary mechanism to implicate members.
“We have our own disciplinary mechanisms that we normally follow and on this Kemsa issue we will wait until the probe is concluded and if there are our members we will not hesitate to take action, including deregistration, “said Mwaura.
Their concerns emerge as investigative agencies embark on extensive investigations into alleged bulk of irregular procurement and supplies of medical equipment amounting to Billions of shillings.
“Public officers and all professionals must not hide behind procedural activities such as Public Procurement and Disposal Act to do the wrong thing. We have recently heard that KEMSA is now seeking the permission of the Ministry to sell COVID supplies at a loss of approximately KES 2.3B. This must be investigated and someone must take responsibility for this loss,” she added.
The accountants are now calling on the Parliament to immediately consider and enact the Whistleblowers Protection Act alluding that ICPAK members come across various matters regularly while doing their jobs, therefore they need protection to be able to do their jobs.
“We have seen our members harassed, sent show cause letters, fired from their jobs and even some have lost their lives when they whistle-blow or report on the theft of public funds,”Mwaura said.
Speaking during the 7th annual public sector accountant’s conference in Mombasa, the institute also raised concerns over the ballooning public debt that has continued to haunt Kenya’s economy and worsened the cost of living.
“We therefore recommend the government to Retire the commercial loans with concessional ones and or renegotiated debt relief terms given the adverse impact of the pandemic, “she added.
The institute also wants the state to enhance transparency, scrutiny and accountability in the utilization of borrowed funds and debt funded programs.
“Have an independent audit of the public debt register Focus on repayment measures and renegotiation of debt relief terms given the adverse impact of the pandemic, ”she added.
According to the Central Bank, the public debt for the year ending June 2020 stood at Sh 6.7 trillion, comprising Sh3.2 trillion domestic and Sh3.5 Trillion external debt.
This was a net public debt increase of Sh800 Billion over the fiscal year 2019/2020. The debt stock raised Kenya’s public debt to over 65 percent of GDP.
“This continues to be a concern to the Institute given the deteriorating fiscal outlook, and erosion of the revenue base arising from Covid-19 effect on the economy,” she added.
This is further worsened with the high debt and interest burden arising from the existing commercial loans. The Parliamentary Budget Office projects that the Country will soon be hitting the 9 Trillion debt limit set last year.