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Engineers body criticised for congratulating its President on appointment to public debt taskforce

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The taskforce was gazetted on Friday a few minutes after President William Ruto announced new austerity measures following widespread rage over the wastage of public funds

The Institution of Engineers in Kenya is facing a backlash from Kenyans on the X platform for sending a congratulatory message to its President Engineer Shammah Kiteme following his appointment to the Presidential Taskforce on Forensic Audit of Public Debt.

The taskforce was gazetted on Friday a few minutes after President William Ruto announced new austerity measures following widespread rage over the wastage of public funds and deliberate piling of pressure on Kenyans to pay exceeding amounts of tax through the now-withdrawn finance bill.

Shammah and his co-appointees are to report directly to the president and serve for three months with its secretariat based at the National Treasury buildings.

Kenyans questioned the move by the Institute to congratulate Engineer Shammah's appointment, terming it unfortunate.

This is after the Law Society of Kenya, whose President Faith Odhiambo was appointed as a member, rejected the offer and termed it unconstitutional.

"Congratulations on what? What is the work of the auditor General as prescribed under article 299(4)(g) of the CoK 2010? This is shameful to the engineering fraternity. It's an abuse from the president, he seems to know that Kenyan engineers have no professional ethics and morals," said Senior Jeneral on X.

"Engineer in debt audit? What happened to auditors or accountants?" Posed Godfrey Otipa

"I envy KMPDU alongside other medical unions for what they stand for. The fact that we're having to remould into anything else besides engineering after graduating speaks volumes. No opportunities, no mentorship, nothing. So, this is so unwelcomed," Geoffrey Njenga said.

"Auditing Kenya is the Auditor General's job as per the Constitution of Kenya 2010. You fake engineers have no role in this,"  another Kenyan on X, Mwangi wa Maina, said.

The future of the taskforce, however, lies in jeopardy following LSK's decision to reject the offer, on grounds that the taskforce is unconstitutional.

The society is likely to challenge the formation of the taskforce in court.

In its objection to the taskforce, the society explained that a recent high court decision underscored the Auditor-General's role in public audit matters and nullified a taskforce created to audit county government debts asserting that a governor can request the auditor-general to conduct the forensic audit.

"Taking cognizance of the provisions of Article 229 of the constitution and the interpretation of the said provisions by the court, it is our considered view that the establishment of the taskforce is unconstitutional. The mandate to audit public debt rests with the office of the auditor-general," LSK argued.

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