Delays by the East African Community (EAC) Secretariat to submit audit accounts, and failure by some member states to meet financial obligations, is is the cause for the Committee on Accounts move to centralise the EAC audit financing arrangement.
Following a meeting of the accounts committee on Monday, the Chairperson, Bernard Mulengani, said that the committee is in the process of formulating a bill to create a legal framework for the centralised audit commission.
“If one member state cannot meet its obligations, then its better we centralise and then we see how much we can manage so as to achieve accountability. This is why the committee is thinking of a bill,” Mulengani said in an interview.
He explained that there is concern that “some member states are unable to meet the funding of their own audit commissions to come and audit community activities.”
Mulengani said Burundi often fails to meet its financial obligations, but noted that even member states that are capable also fail to do so in time.
One of the obligations of member states is to meet the requirements of the audit commission to audit EAC activities.
The Committee’s meeting on Monday afternoon noted that one of the planned activities is to conduct public hearings on an EAC Audited Accounts Bill.
The commission would comprise of Auditors General (AGs) of the member states, who audit the accounts of the bloc.
According to Mulengani, the funding to facilitate the AGs to audit activities of the community is done by the respective audit commissions of the member states.
Mulengani explained that the centralisation would also address the issue of delays by the secretariat in submitting audit accounts.
“We are also thinking of addressing the issue of timelines. According to the treaty, accounts should be presented within six months after a financial year, but this is often not the case,” Mulengani lamented.
The EAC financial year ends in the month of June.
“The financial year 2009/2010 ended in June 2010. But up to date, the audit accounts of this year have not been laid. From June 2010, to date, it is over a year, but audit accounts have not been laid”.