Ex-Auditor General Ouko says his security was withdrawn, benefits denied after retirement

Ex-Auditor General Ouko says his security was withdrawn, benefits denied after retirement
Former Auditor General Edward Ouko in an interview on Citizen TV on June 16, 2020. PHOTO|COURTESY

Former Auditor General Edward Ouko has blown the lid off his life in retirement revealing that the government withdrew his security and benefits, which were due to him when he left office nine months ago, are yet to be paid.

In an exclusive interview on Citizen TV, Mr. Ouko on Tuesday said the State has left him vulnerable, pointing out that at the moment he is not sure whether or not his life is in danger.

“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 Thank God for the last nine months I have been able to move around but all the securities were withdrawn.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, who retired in August 2019.

During his tenure as Auditor General, Ouko upset the Executive for exposing looting and wastage of public funds, with President Uhuru Kenyatta at one time publicly telling him off during an anti-corruption conference at State House over the Eurobond saga.

Mr. Ouko says at some point he was left to serve as Auditor General without support and goodwill from the Executive, and would sometimes receive personal threats for apparently stepping on the wrong toes.

“I would have liked more support and communication from the Executive at least at the highest level.

“These tensions are professionally expected and healthy but the only problem is when it is personalised and used in other forms like when someone is threatened. It is upon the person of the Auditor General to know how to manage and steer through that. It is a day to day thing. You have to balance the profession and the politics of the day,” he said.

During the show, he sounded an alarm about the delay in appointment of an Auditor General, saying this may provide an opportunity for looting of public funds.

“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, adding that it does not make legal sense why the office remains vacant.

“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.”

The President is required to nominate an Auditor-General who shall then be vetted and approved by the National Assembly before taking office for an eight-year term.

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Story By Benjamin Muriuki
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