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Monday, May 7th, 2018

 

Bungling police on the spot for letting pastor off the hook

By ERIC WAINAINA  
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Inconsistencies by key prosecution witnesses in a case in which televangelist James Ng’ang’a of Neno Evangelism Centre was charged with causing the death of a woman by dangerous driving in 2015 led to his acquittal and that of three others by a Limuru court.

Chief Magistrate Godfrey Oduor, who has since been transferred to Nakuru, said the prosecution witnesses, presented to the court by the police, failed to place Mr Ng’ang’a at the scene of the accident, and therefore it could not be proved that he was driving the Range Rover when the crash happened.

In the ruling, which was read by Senior Principal Magistrate Karen Njalule on Monday, Mr Oduor said evidence from the four witnesses had a lot of discrepancies. For instance, they did not say they had spotted the pastor at the scene when recording statements with the police, yet claimed they had when testifying in court.

The televangelist was charged three years ago with dangerous driving after his car crashed head-on into a Nissan March on July 26, 2015 at Manguo area in Limuru, killing Ms Mercy Njeri, who was a passenger in the Nissan.

Witnesses claimed Mr Ng’ang’a was the one behind the wheel, but another man, Mr Simon Kuria, later claimed he had been the one driving. Mr Kuria, a Kenya Police Airwing inspector named Christopher Nzioka, and a police officer named Patrick Baya were the co-accused in the case.

A truck driver told the court that Mr Ng’ang’a’s car had overtaken him at high speed around the Kinungi area of the Nairobi-Naivasha highway. It was heading towards Nairobi, and a man sitting at the back had rolled down his window and was waving other drivers off the road with what looked like a police radio. He said a few minutes later he arrived at the accident scene, where he identified Mr Ng’ang’a.

But Mr Oduor discredited the witness. “After being cross-examined by the accused’s counsel, he said that he had seen the accused in Naivasha, yet at the scene of the accident, he was asking who the occupants of the vehicles (of the cars that were involved in the accidents) were, which was a contradiction,” said the judge, accusing the witness of “either concocting or exaggerating” his testimony.

ACCIDENT SCENE

Another witness said he was at the accident scene five minutes after it had happened. From about 10 metres away, he saw Mr Ng’ang’a, whom he had watched several times preaching on television, climb out of his mangled Range Rover and board a Subaru that sped off towards Nairobi.

A crowd had milled at the scene and was castigating Mr Ng’ang’a “for causing the accident”, said the witness, who requested the court to protect his identity. He took photos of the scene and produced them in court as exhibits.

Pastor James Ng’ang’a of Neno Evangelism CentrePastor James Ng’ang’a of Neno Evangelism Centre’s Range Rover which caused the death of a woman an accident. The vehicle had an expired insurance certificate. PHOTO| ERIC WAINAINA | NATION MEDIA GROUP

Another protected witness said he was walking home when he saw the accident happen. He then saw someone emerge from the side of the driver of the Range Rover car, and he recognised him as Pastor Ng’ang’a, whom he had first met during a religious crusade in Limuru a few months earlier, and also seen on TV.

But the judge yesterday said the third witness had said he only saw Mr Ng’ang’a get out of the car, yet the other witnesses had said the car had another passenger at the back. Also, the witness who took photos did not capture Mr Ng’ang’a at the scene, said the judge, and set all the accused free.

CAUSING DEATH

Pastor Ng’ang’a had all along denied the charges against him, which included dangerous driving, causing an accident and failing to report it, and causing the death of Ms Njeri. He further denied giving false information to the police, conspiring to defeat justice, and driving an uninsured car or failing to display a certificate of insurance on the car.

His three co-accused, police inspectors Christopher Nzioka and Patrick Baya, and Simon Kuria, also denied conspiring to defeat justice and being part of an attempted cover-up.

Mr Kuria and Mr Nzioka were accused of giving false information to the police, while Mr Baya, who was the Tigoni police base commander, was accused of neglecting his duties. The three were also accused of conspiring to defeat justice. Mr Ng’ang’a was released on a Sh1 million bond, the officers Sh100,000 each, and the alleged driver Sh500,000.

And then, away from the public limelight and media glare, the case dragged on for three years, until last Friday, when Chief Magistrate Godfrey Oduor stunned the small crowd at the Limuru Law Courts in a short ruling whose justification he said he would give on Monday. The prosecution and the family of the deceased are considering lodging appeals.

DERAIL CAREER

Mr Ng’ang’a, a flamboyant, wealthy televangelist famous for his rock star guitar strums at his Neno Evangelism Centre in Nairobi, had been in the spotlight for all the good, bad, and downright ugly reasons, but this case threatened to derail his career.

For one, a victim lay dead, and, to make matters worse, he was being accused of trying to evade justice. The case went to court after the then Director of Public Prosecutions, Mr Keriako Tobiko, directed that the four be charged as, he believed, they had committed criminal offenses.

Family members carry the casket bearing theFamily members carry the casket bearing the remains of Mercy Njeri who died in a road accident at Ngararigia in Limuru. The accident that involved a Range Rover which is linked to Pastor James Ng’ang’a. PHOTO | ERIC WAINAINA | NATION MEDIA GROUP

And then the drama began. Mr Maina showed up in court claiming he was the one behind the wheel of Mr Ng’ang’a’s car, but an angry mob laughed him off and demanded that the preacher be presented in court and charged.

The pastor was arrested and taken to the traffic police headquarters before being locked up in a cell, but he refused to have his blood samples taken at the Government Chemist on the advice of his lawyer, Mr Cliff Ombeta.

Investigators wanted to use the blood samples for DNA tests in relation to the fatal accident, but the court declined to order him to do so, saying this would compromise the court’s neutrality. Mr Ombeta, one of the most successful criminal lawyers in the country, later pulled out of the case for safety reasons, telling the court that his Mercedes Benz car had been slightly damaged by unknown people.

State counsel Catherine Mwaniki also complained at one time that supporters of Mr Ng’ang’a had attacked her team and asked the court to order him to refrain from commenting on the case during church services.


Disaster preparedness is still a pipe dream despite big effort

The Kenya Meteorological Department sounded the alarm that parts of the country would receive more-than-normal rains or experience unusual weather conditions early in the year.

Year in, year out, whenever there is rainfall, the country goes through the ravages of floods — which, if well-managed, could be a major player in the ‘Big Four’ agenda pillar of food security.

It’s wrong for the country to be losing such huge amounts of water to run-off while it’s unable to provide safe drinking water to the citizens in addition to blaming low water levels for the high electricity costs and blackouts.

As other Kenyans continue losing lives and properties to floods, there are lessons to be learnt from Budalang’i in Busia County, which, for some years, has been spared the hitherto devastating floods. What can other parts of the country learn from that? What happened to the rainwater harvesting technologies, and have companies such Kenya Power lost their innovativeness?

The country created a disaster preparedness plan following the 1997 El-Niño condition, which has enabled the national and county governments to develop mitigation measures to deal with the anticipated unusual weather conditions.

With an elaborate Disaster Risk Reduction Legal, Institutional and Coordination Framework, why are floods and other disasters still ravaging Kenyans? Where is the coordination between the two levels of government and support groups?

Makueni Governor Kivutha Kibwana has already responded to the aftermath of the heavy rains by establishing disaster units and allowing his staff to work in flexible time frames aware of the danger. On the contrary, Kilifi Governor Amason Kingi was quoted in the  media as complaining about lack of national government support to deal with floods in his county.

The structure and framework of disaster management bodies indicates that the country has made disaster risk reduction a national and local priority with strong institutional framework through citing various legal and policy documents. They include the Constitution, acts of Parliament, legislation and presidential decrees and gazette notices. Consequently, a number of institutions were created.

RISK REDUCTION

They include the Ministry of State for Special Programmes (now a directorate under the Devolution and Planning ministry); the National Disaster Operation Centre (NDOC), under Interior and Coordination of National Government ministry; National Disaster Management Unit (NDMU); National Police Service, under the Interior ministry; and National Drought Management Authority (NDMA), under the Devolution ministry.

There was also the appointment of disaster risk reduction focal points in all the line ministries by the Chief of Staff and Head of Public Service.

What are these bodies doing, and are they funded well to deal with the situation? What happened to implementation plan rolled out by the NDOC and the Task Force set up by the government?

Victor Bwire, Nairobi.


Hospital on the spot in pregnant woman’s death

By FADHILI FREDRICK
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An expectant woman in labour died at the gate of Gombate Dispensary in what her family claims is a case of negligence by the management.

According to the family, Mrs Subira Hamisi, 30, developed complications last Thursday prompting them to rush her to the hospital only to be stopped at the gate by the watchman on duty.

Her mother, Mwanaasha Omar narrated how they pleaded with the watchman to open the gate but he refused despite her daughter complaining of extreme pain in her abdomen.

“They refused to help us despite the fact that my daughter was in labour. We waited for close to two hours in the cold as it was raining before she died,” she said.

The mother said that earlier in the day, her daughter visited the facility for a check-up which revealed she would deliver anytime.  They wonder why the hospital sent her back home instead of monitoring her.

“What I want is justice for my daughter. She would be alive today had she been attended properly,” she said.

However, the head of nurses at facility Mr Omar Mrenje said he was not around during the incident.

INVESTIGATIONS

Woman Rep Zuleikha Hassan Juma said investigations must be carried out and if someone is found culpable, then action must be taken.

Mrs Omar said that when they took the body at home, an ambulance came with two medical officers who asked for the clinic book and asked the mother and another witness to sign it.

She said after singing the book as instructed, it was never brought back.

“We are not aware of what they wrote on the book,” said Mwanamisi Salim who signed the book.

 Mrs Mariam Omar wants the watchman, who turned them away, sacked.


Hope for victims’ families as court rules on medical negligence case

By MAUREEN KAKAH
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Seven years ago, lawyer Sybril Odero checked into a city hospital. She was pregnant, hoped to deliver safely and return home with a bouncing baby.

Instead, Ms Odero died becoming another statistic of patients who succumbed to death in the hands of doctors and nurses.

Her family has, without success, made frantic efforts to seek justice for what they believed was a case of negligence by doctors.

However, there now appears to be  light at the end of the tunnel for cases like Ms Odero’s after the High Court directed that hospitals, not just doctors, should be held to account for negligence and harsher penalties imposed.

Justice Roselyn Aburili in February ordered the Medical Practitioners and Dentists Act to be reviewed to curb continued patients deaths under the care of hospitals due to negligence.

In the February 28 judgment, the judge told the Attorney-General (AG), the Kenya Law Reform Commission (KLRC) and the Health Principal Secretary to examine the law.

CONTINUE DYING

“This is essential as many patients continue dying in the custody and care of hospitals which could otherwise have been disciplined for misconduct and ordered to make amends, but the Act does not make such provision for such discipline of medical institutions,” said Justice Aburili.

She declared null and void Rule 4(A)(2)(e) of the Medical Practitioners and Dentists(Disciplinary proceedings (Procedure) Rules after finding that it was inconsistent with Section 20 of the Medical Practitioners and Dentists Act. The rules guide disciplinary cases arising from conviction of medical practitioners in regular courts or tribunals.

According to Dr James Nyikal who has been a member of the parliamentary committee on health, the medical board is already reviewing the Act following the court’s decision with a view to bringing a bill to Parliament.

However, KLRC and the AG’s office said they were yet to see the judgment.

BLAME GAMES

The medical board’s Chief Executive Officer Daniel Yumbya said he was not in a position to comment on the status of the review until Wednesday.

The ruling arising from Ms Odero’s case promises to end blame games on who is to take responsibility for negligence.

Ms Odero had been admitted at Nairobi hospital on February 11, 2011,  under the instructions of her personal doctor, Dr Bartilol Kigen, who was on private practice there.

She delivered a baby through caesarean section three hours after her admission at 10am, but developed complications after the surgery. She was then transferred to the ICU at about 6pm where she died.

Three months later, her father, Mr John Odero, lodged a complaint with the medical board while accusing Dr Kigen together with Dr Gerald Moniz of negligence.

The board asked the hospital to submit a full report regarding the complaint and then ordered it to appear before the Preliminary Inquiry Committee for clarification on how Ms Odero was handled. The board found the complaint had merit hence recommended the matter to proceed to full trial.

DEVELOP PROTOCOLS

But the hospital argued that the board lacked the jurisdiction to hear and determine the matter and wanted it referred to the Professional Conduct Committee (PCC). Its objection was overruled.

The two doctors then filed a suit at the High Court in 2013 in protest. That was before the parties consented to having the matter referred to PCC.

On March 3, 2016, PCC ordered the hospital to develop protocols for management of obstetric emergencies within 60 days and to confirm their circulation in divisional meetings and display within the facility.

The hospital was also ordered to put in place measures for management of emergency patients under the care of private doctors as well as a policy for intervention and involvement of senior gynaecologists in the event of severe post-partum haemorrhage.

The hospital was further ordered to pay Sh150,000 to the board as costs of the case within 30 days.

But the doctors and the hospital protested, accusing PCC of exceeding its jurisdiction. According to the law, PCC and the board have no powers to institute disciplinary proceedings against an institution.

DISCIPLINARY PROCEEDINGS

Justice Aburili ruled that the board exceeded the mandate provided under the Act. She also said the dispute should not have been referred to PCC because it had no powers to hear such cases.

She therefore directed that the complaint should have been referred to the board. According to the judge, the fact that both the board and PCC have no jurisdiction to hear disciplinary proceedings against the hospital should not prevent Mr Odero or any other person from seeking compensation for alleged medical negligence.

The medical board or tribunal usually handles cases of negligence filed against individual medical practitioners and hospitals. In most cases medical practitioners and hospitals, knowing this loop hole exists in the law, have led unsuspecting complainants down the garden path.

THIRD PARTIES

Medical practitioners when defending themselves usually claim not to have a duty of care over a patient and blame third parties for omissions or commissions

Hospitals, in turn, argue the negligence was contributory, that the complaint was time-barred or question which professional body should handle such cases.

Penalties under PCC include ordering parties to meet the cost of proceedings, further training of medical practitioners, suspension of practising licences for up to six months, closure of operations and admonishment.


2022 polls debate not our agenda, says ODM

By MACHARIA MWANGI
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By SAMWEL OWINO
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The Orange Democratic Movement (ODM) party secretariat says it will not engage in the 2022 polls debate but instead support its leader, Mr Raila Odinga, in the “Building Bridges” initiative.

Party Secretary-General Edwin Sifuna on Monday said t party members were ready to help Mr Odinga in his efforts to unite the country.

He spoke moments after chairing a secretariat meeting in Elementaita Monday, in readiness for a National Executive Council  (NEC) meeting to be attended by the party’s top brass Tuesday.

Mr Sifuna said the 2022 succession debate was not on the party’s agenda. He maintained that there were more pressing issues to discuss, including the nine-point agenda and ensuring that the party speaks with one voice.

“There  are serious and far bigger issues of primary importance to us  as identified by President Uhuru Kenyatta and Mr Odinga than the 2022 politics, and we will remain focused,” he told journalists.

He said Mr Odinga is expected to give the  the party members details about the famous ‘handshake’, among other issues.

BUILDING BRIDGES

Meanwhile, ODM legislators have accused some Jubilee MPs of plotting to scuttle the “Building Bridges Initiative.

Led by National Assembly Minority Whip, Mr Junet Mohamed, they said a clique of Jubilee MPs wanted to discredit the initiative by linking it to the 2022 elections.

The party’s secretary-General, Mr Opiyo Wandayi. was more categorical. He called on DP William Ruto to rein in his “troops” before they are swept away” by the tide of reconciliation sweeping across the county.

Alego Usonga MP Mr Samuel Atandi said a section of Jubilee leaders cannot deny Nasa MPs the right to talk about the 2022 elections.

“The deputy president’s allies are busy campaigning for the 2022 General Election but they want to stop  us from talking about the same. That will not happen. Our party leader has clarified that he is not interested in the 2022 elections and that should be final,” he said.

The party, Mr Sifuna explained, was committed to giving the initiative by Mr Kenyatta and Mr Odinga all the necessary support to ensure their mission of uniting the was nation successful relationship.

Mr Odinga has, on several occasions, insisted that the new found working relationship with the President has nothing to do with the 2022 elections, a stand that the party SG reinforced.

Key on the table however, in  the party talks will be on how to revamp the party from the top to the lowest organs and strengthen its structures.

“We needed to an in house deliberation ahead of the NEC meeting as the members tasked with the duties of revitalizing  the party,” said Mr Sifuna.

The party SG outlined the secretariat duties, saying the onerous responsibility of rebuilding the party depends on the output of the officials.

CHALLENGES

“It will also be an opportunity for party members to deliberate on the on what we see us a challenges going forward,” added Mr Sifuna.

All the top party officials are expected to grace the meeting that is expected to chart the party’s future.

The NEC meeting comes at a time when the handshake has caused furore among members of the Jubilee administration and the opposition counterparts.

On March 9 the two (Mr Odinga and President Kenyatta) united in what has been described as a ‘ historical golden handshake.’

Currently parties in the unity deal are drafting a comprehensive document that will guide engagements between the two leaders.


Kenya, Ethiopia look at mega link projects afresh

By AGGREY MUTAMBO
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Kenya and Ethiopia on Monday revisited building of major link infrastructure projects between the two countries.

This comes two years after the two sides signed a similar Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) that was not implemented.

President Uhuru Kenyatta and Ethiopian Prime Minister (PM) Abiy Ahmed, on his first tour of Kenya since he became premier, announced they will focus on the development of the Lamu Port South Sudan Ethiopia Transport (Lapsset) corridor.

“They committed to the development of Lapsset, the Northern Corridor including road network between Isiolo, Moyale through to Addis Ababa and the railway from Addis Ababa to Nairobi,” a joint statement said.

“Both sides agreed to finalise the Ethiopia-Kenya interconnection transmission line. Both sides agreed to jointly supervise and inspect the Lamu-Garissa-Isiolo-Moyale and Moyale-Hawassa-Addis Ababa road networks.”

And while Dr Ahmed is new in his position, President Uhuru Kenyatta had announced a similar thing in June 2016, when then PM Hailemariam Desalegn made a state visit to Nairobi.

At the time, President Kenyatta told reporters at a joint press briefing that projects within Lapsset would be “fast-tracked.” They included link roads between the two countries, an international airport in Isiolo town and a sea port in Lamu.

Launched in 2012, the Lapsset project was estimated to cost at least Sh2trillion. But the cost of the projects was always going to be punitive and each country was to source financing, which meant further delays.

The seven portions of the project require an estimated $24.5 billion (Sh2.4trillion) with $3.1 billion footing the bill for the Lamu Port.

In 2016, Ethiopia and Kenya also signed an MoU on an oil pipeline. Yesterday, both countries did not mention it, but said each side will have specific responsibilities on ensuring Lapsset project continues.

“The Kenyan side will facilitate the formal acquisition of land in Lamu Port given to the Ethiopian government and the Ethiopian side reiterated its commitment to develop the land for logistical facilitation,” the MoU said.

WEAKNESSES

But the countries also admitted weaknesses in funding, instead calling on the private corporates to take a hand in the projects.

“The two leaders strongly encouraged members of their respective private sectors to identify potential areas for engagement and pledged to continue improving the business environment and create maximum incentives for successful commerce.”

Already, the Isiolo Airport as well as the highway up to Moyale on the Kenyan side is complete.

The problem however remains with the political situation on both countries.

Dr Ahmed is new and has to rebuild his country’s stability following years of violence from regions on the south of the country, claiming oppressions.

The two leaders identified cross-border security challenges, exacerbated by vulnerable communities, as obstacles to sustainable peace.

ECONOMIC GROWTH

They agreed to focus on inclusive economic growth of the border regions, such as the one contemplated by the Special Status Agreement, affirming that cross-border trade between the border communities could greatly elevate their quality of lives.

Both leaders announced they will allow their national airlines, Kenya Airways and Ethiopian Airlines, unfettered marketing on each other’s soils, in the interests of enabling growth in aviation. This could be positive, especially since Ethiopia has traditionally locked up its local market to protect Ethiopian Airlines.

They also agreed on a prisoner-exchange programme, which could start as soon as next month and which could mean Kenyans languishing in jails in Ethiopia could be brought back.

With South Sudan’s participation in Lapsset hampered by war, the two leaders said they were disappointed there had been slow progress to bring peace there. They urged the leaders of South Sudan to place the interests of their people above their own to give peace a chance.


2022: Premature jostling could make Uhuru early lame duck

By MACHARIA GAITHO
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It was disgusting watching on live television the theatrics of politicians at the funeral of Baringo South MP Grace Kipchoim.

The mourning family must have been left shocked and bewildered by utterances of politicians, who mentioned the dearly departed only in passing.

The funeral corrupted into a campaign rally, confirming the crass dishonesty and heartlessness of the Kenyan political animal. It also revealed likely political re-alignments with the premature Uhuru Succession campaigns within Jubilee Party.

Deputy President William Ruto’s boosters from the Jubilee bedrocks of his own Rift Valley heartland and President Uhuru Kenyatta’s central Kenya took advantage of the funeral to reiterate unwavering support for the former’s bid for State House in 2022.

BLOCKING DP

They were mobilised for a coordinated assault on Baringo Senator Gideon Moi, accused of blocking the DP from paying a courtesy call on his ageing father, former President Daniel arap Moi, a few days earlier.

The younger Moi, chairman of the depleted former ruling party Kanu, has also declared his own quest for the presidency in 2022, potentially splitting Mr Ruto’s Kalenjin vote.

But the broadsides fired against Senator Moi were just a diversion, for the MPs were actually addressing President Kenyatta, sending the message that his time is over and they are transferring allegiance to his deputy.

The MPs were signalling their rejection of the President’s famous handshake with Opposition leader Raila Odinga, averring that they are not interested in peace overtures that could result in new alliances to the detriment of Mr Ruto’s presidential aspirations.

HARSH REACTION

The harsh reaction, as seen in another public rally the following day, was obviously informed by suspicion that the Baringo senator is, together with President Kenyatta and Mr Odinga, in the handshake deal.

After all, the younger Moi had earlier facilitated the former Prime Minister’s visit to his father, and Mr Ruto craved his own photo-op with the retired president.

The funeral provided a perfect setting to hit out at the senator in his Baringo County turf and demonstrate who the boss is in Kalenjin politics.

More importantly, it came just days after the State of the Nation address in Parliament, where President Kenyatta had further expounded on the ‘Building Bridges’ initiative and his meeting of minds with Mr Odinga.

Mr Ruto’s acolytes who spoke at the funeral left no doubt that, while the seeming target of their barbs was Gideon Moi — who sat quietly, listening — they were addressing a more potent issue around the Uhuru Succession.

It is evident that Mr Ruto is already positioning himself, with a campaign machinery ramping up the ‘hustler’ narrative in a clear scheme to distinguish himself from the privileged scions of the Kenyatta, Odinga and Moi dynasties allegedly ganging up to block his ascension to power.

With key Jubilee politicians in rebellion mode, it almost goes without saying that the Kenyatta-Odinga initiative could be dead in the water.

The power play in Jubilee will not allow the team assembled by the President and his erstwhile rival to convene a meaningful national dialogue, leave alone shepherd any legislative proposals towards a new dispensation.

If Building Bridges is stillborn, Mr Odinga will be left with egg on his face, neutered and with nothing to show for embracing a move that only managed to divide and wreck the opposition coalition National Super Alliance (Nasa).

President Kenyatta, on his part, will have been shown as a premature lame duck, abandoned by his core support on a brave initiative he clearly hoped would be the one to secure his legacy.

Perhaps one way the two can stave off such a disaster is by ignoring the political classes and going directly to the people.

In the meantime, Mr Ruto might be advised that those vows of undying loyalty from central Kenya politicians might not be worth the spittle they came out with.

He should know better than most that any politician who promises total support from his constituency or ethnic group is a liar. Those fellows who trooped to the funeral did not consult anyone, and they do not direct the vote of their kinsmen.

Mr Ruto knows that the biggest mistake any contender for political office can make is to go over-confident into an election on the strength of victory projections from self-seeking charlatans.

The biggest enemy of any top politician is sycophancy that shields him from reality.


To survive the future, businesses must be alert to audit technologies

By MICHAEL ARMSTRONG
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Developments in artificial intelligence (AI), data analytics and blockchain technologies are having a significant impact on businesses. The pace of technological change is particularly affecting the finance function, creating a need to revisit the audit approach.

A recent seminar jointly organised by the Institute of Chartered Accountants in England and Wales (ICEAW) and the Dubai Financial Services Authority (DFSA) looked into the impact of technology on the audit and finance profession.

Firstly, the event highlighted that technology will drive down the time to conduct an audit as testing becomes more automated and is conducted in real time. With improved technology, it will be possible to test the full population of entries and not only a sample.

The profession will move away from ‘What could go wrong?’ to ‘What has gone wrong?’. There will be more certainty and precision with regard to transactions and more transactional evidence of control weaknesses. There is a need to develop new methods for calculating audit fees based on the technology resources used and the value added by auditors.

There will be opportunities for auditors to develop more forward-looking assurance services, helping clients to manage risk and growth. They will better identify financial reporting, fraud and operational business risks and tailor their approach to deliver a more relevant audit.

Technology is directing changes in the way clients run their businesses, changing their business models and processes. Auditors need to stay ahead of these changes in order to provide relevant advice and support services. One way is for businesses and audit firms to recruit and partner with a variety of technology experts.

Distinctively, audit firms need to invest in digital initiatives, including AI, blockchain, cyber security and developments in data capabilities so as to deal with the new technology-driven risks that their clients face and safeguard their digital assets.

ACCOUNTING

Like many forms of technology, blockchain in accounting and audit greatly reduces the potential for errors when reconciling complex and disparate information from multiple sources. Furthermore, accounting records are not alterable once entered onto a blockchain, even by the owners of the accounting system. And because every transaction is recorded and verified, the integrity of financial records is guaranteed.

Likewise, as global business processes become more complex, internal auditors can use more advanced analytics to deliver deeper and faster insights.

For example, a global automotive firm wanted to improve the efficiency of its dealership audits. The internal audit team defined behavioural indicators that would identify transaction abnormalities. It developed a predictive model based on different variables using multiple dozens of terabytes of data. Information from historical audit results (pass or fail) was taken into consideration to enable the transactions to be scored.

This enabled the business to assess risk for 100 per cent of all automobile insurance claims as compared with a random sampling that would typically only cover one per cent of the population. The exception identification rates improved globally by a factor of three.

COMMUNICATION SKILLS

But while it is clear that lower level accounting and auditing skills can be replaced easily by technology, human business acumen and communication skills remain crucial.

The required combination rests in a blend of human capital resources, incorporating specialist technology and digital skills, technical accounting and audit skills and professional skills such as communication, leadership and commerciality.

Corporates and professional membership bodies and service firms need to engage with technological developments and anticipate the benefits, risks and opportunities they bring.

 Mr Armstrong is the FCA and ICAEW regional director for the Middle East, Africa and South Asia (MEASA). 


Ruto-Moi wars political bankruptcy

By MICAH KIGEN
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The unfolding political conflicts in the Rift Valley are an unfortunate implosion born out of past and present selfish pursuits by overbearing top leaders who overlooked community interests and the common good in preference to self-glorification and survivalist tough control politics.

It would be simplistic and misleading to reduce the trending tug-of-war between Deputy President William Ruto and Baringo Senator Gideon Moi to a mere political superiority contest anchored on the Uhuru Succession. Or, as some have quickly concluded, a malicious push by a crown prince of Kenya’s political dynasty formation to scuttle the steady climb of an elite ‘hustler’ (member of Kenya’s majority peasantry, or commoner) to the presidency.

It is deeper and sad.

Both DP Ruto and Senator Moi are products and beneficiaries, but also victims, of a brand of exploitative political culture imposed on a community that has bred the confusion, hopelessness and zigzag situation it finds itself embroiled in. Therefore, unless guided out of the mess, both may not be relied upon for a sustainable solution.

POLITICAL TRANSITION

Former President Daniel arap Moi and the DP are ‘arch-culprits’ in the big sin of failure to prepare their community for political transitions nor mobilisation for harnessing and sustaining focused, progressive interests. Even when they could, neither put in an effort to ensure safe positioning of the people, mainly in the political and economic spheres.

Their reigns have brought out clear manifestations of ‘big man’ politics — which, unfortunately, led them to invest heavily in self-preservation and concentration of power and resources in themselves and their respective cronies at the expense of the community’s masses.

The much-acclaimed political influence and control by both Mzee Moi, when he ruled, and now Mr Ruto are punctuated by major similarities: Lip service to and subsequent drastic decline of their community’s economic mainstays, deterioration of security in the region, propping up of irritating and self-seeking millionaire chief sycophants and their minions on monetary retainers, entrenchment of hero worship politics, destruction of a democratic culture and the condemnation of the masses into user-friendly, unquestioning voting machines.

IMPOVERISHING THE MASSES

The failures have had the trickle effect of impoverishing the masses, converting most into helpless voters, easy to manipulate, buy, bribe and confuse by use of handouts and other freebies. Such a population can neither stand on its own nor effectively stand up for their rights and rightful share of the national cake.

Wisdom demands that any realistic, progressive, futuristic and caring leadership should have invested heavily in prioritising community interests and socio-economic enrichment. These, topped up with instilment of a strong democratic culture, would have freed the people from their current bondage of hero-worshipping pretenders to the throne and those in power. A weak and hopeless people look upon such leaders, some who may actually be demagogues, as their ideal messiahs!

Self-centred leaders who spend most of their time looking for enemies to crush, amassing wealth and creating sycophants never have time to investigate and isolate the problems of their community to fix them.

FUTURE LEADERS

They get no time to realistically empower their people and organise them into a united, focused group to face the future and grow. They never dig out and identify good, progressive, talented individuals in all age groups to mentor and strategically place as the community’s ideal pool from which to pick future leaders to sustain and promote common interests.

The community needs to regroup and strategise the way forward without being misled nor blinded by the Gideon-Ruto wars. Neither appears to have a realistic cure for the sad state of the region’s leadership and socio-economic woes.

This leadership crisis, generated by elder Moi’s failures and being replicated by the DP, has no multiple choice answers. The only solution to it is the purposeful coming together of all respected community elders, credible clergy and top professionals to an urgent crisis meeting to guide the masses and craft the way forward.

The caucus, which should be inclusive, should name and shame the political big fish propelling this messy, retrogressive commercial politics to end their manipulation and exploitation of the people. It should initiate a paradigm shift in leadership at the local and national levels and install a transformative, reformist and progressive new political order to empower and protect the community.

 Mr Kigen is the Orange Democratic Movement (ODM) Elgeyo-Marakwet branch chairman. [email protected] 


Only 65 foreign job recruiters have right papers, says Labour CS

By WINNIE ATIENO
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Only 65 private companies have been accredited and authorised to place Kenyans in jobs abroad as the government struggles to end mistreatment of workers outside Kenya, Labour Cabinet Secretary Ukur Yatani has said.

Speaking when the ministry’s officials met the owners of recruitment agencies from Coast at Sarova Whitesands Hotel in Mombasa, Mr Yatani said all firms must comply with the new regulatory employment framework.

He said many companies at the Coast have not fully complied with the legal and policy framework, leading to the emergence of bogus recruitment agencies.

“Agencies, especially in Nairobi, have fully complied with the regulatory framework, but very little is said at the Coast. Those wishing to engage in recruitment must familiarise themselves with the new requirement and regulations,” Mr Yatani said.

CHALLENGES

The CS said due to past numerous challenges which resulted in imposition of a ban on export of labour in September 2014, a task force was set up to review the framework of foreign employment and labour migration management. It was to propose short, medium and long-term interventions to address challenges in the sector.

“In April 2016, the government lifted the ban on export of all categories except domestic and low-skilled cadres. Any engagement of this vulnerable group will only be allowed with countries which have signed a bilateral agreement with Kenya,” Mr Yatani said.

The CS said such workers will be subjected to a mandatory pre-departure training and verification of their contracts of employment before leaving Kenya. “This will protect domestic and low-skilled cadres from any mistreatment, abuse or job scam. Job-seekers should be informed of what they are signing up for and the conditions of work abroad,” he said.

PRIVATE AGENCIES

He said the recommendations of the task force have been implemented by his ministry and some of the accomplished control measures include the establishment of an inter-ministerial committee to vet registration of private recruitment agencies.

“The committee has only approved and registered 65 private agencies to recruit and place Kenyan workers abroad. The agencies have fully complied with the new regulatory framework,” the CS said.

Labour attaches have been posted to Middle East countries including Qatar, Saudi Arabia and United Arab Emirates to look into the welfare of Kenyan migrant workers, he added.

Hundreds of Kenyan migrant workers are in the Middle East countries.