Rogue accountants a weak link in corruption war — Matiang’i

By AURA RUTH

Interior Cabinet Secretary Fred Matinag’i says there has been an unprecedented rise in the number of corruption cases implicating accountants.

He said the problem cuts across the public and private sectors and this risks eroding the credibility of the Institute of Certified Public Accountants (Icpak) which regulates and licenses accountants.

He said despite Icpak should be maintaining a disciplinary register to try and hold its members accountable, it is yet to resolve sixteen graft cases involving its members.

“You will note that eight of the sixteen cases have been pending for the last five years, six cases for four years, one case for six years, and another one case for two years,” said Matiangi.

He said Icpak’s data shows that twelve (12) cases are now categorised as dormant – meaning no action is likely to be taken.

“The delay in resolving these cases undermines Icpak’s reputation and erodes public confidence. I wish to reiterate the need to immediately resolve these disciplinary cases,” said Matangi.

The CS said accountants should observe the ethical guidelines and applicable standards while discharging their duties.

“I wish to remind you that these rules take precedence over any instructions from a client or other person,” he said.

He said in July 2022, the Ethics and Anti-Corruption Commission (EACC) succeeded in upholding charges against four principal accountants as accomplices in the irregular payment of Sh68 million to a law firm by the Nairobi City County (2013-2017).

In March last year, Justice Mumbi Ngugi of the High Court established that a former Chief Accountant had used his position to acquire unexplained assets around the time of the Anglo Leasing contracts.

In a separate case, an Anti-Corruption Court at Milimani in Nairobi jailed three accountants from the Ministry of Higher Education for defrauding the ministry through irregular withdrawals of public funds between 2008 and 2010.

The CS said in 2020 Kenyan firms lost close to Sh5.5 billion from economic crimes ranging from procurement fraud, asset misappropriation, bribery and corruption, and fraud.

 

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