COB – Controller of Budget
The Controller of Budget, presently Agnes Odhiambo, is in charge of overseeing the current financial operations of the state of Kenya including the counties. She is nominated by the President of Kenya for a term of eight years. Her tasks are established by Article 228 of the Constitution.
The COB’s office authorizes any withdrawal from public funds, but she is supposed to approve all monies before they are withdrawn for expenditure.
She is also obliged to submit 4 monthly reports to Parliament and County Assemblies.
Just like the Auditor General, the COB is “subject only to this Constitution and the law” and “… independent and not subject to direction or control by any person or authority”, as stipulated in Art. 249 (2) (a) and (b) of the Constitution.
Only a specially appointed tribunal can remove the COB from her office under Article 251 of the Constitution. The Article names the conditions and procedure for such a removal.
According to the constitution at least every four months the COB shall submit a report on budget implementation of the national and county governments. These reports shall be submitted to the parliament and the respective County Assembly no later than one month after the end of the quarter. Two weeks after submitting the reports the COB must publish and publicise them (COB Act, Sec. 9(6) – explanation here). According to the Access to Information Act Sec.5 (3)(c) this should happen online.
After the report is submitted and tabled in the parliament or assembly the reports become official public documents to which every citizen can demand access. Nevertheless the quarterly and budget implementation reports have for years now been hidden from the public and the press.
There should be a budget implementation report at least three times per year even at the county level! We have set the exclamation mark here because in a workshop on Reporting on Corruption none of these reports was given to us. We were solely referred to the yearly report covering all the counties. Though the yearly report may answer some questions regarding “your” county’s budget performance there are many which it don’t.
Because of the COB’s role in the counties there is an office and a representative of the COB in each county.
You can find out your county contact on the COB-Website
For current reporting problems read our Story suggestion: Reporting on COB reports