Auditor-General exposes major abuse of public funds

Controller and Auditor-General Evan Mwai (centre) peruses some documents at a past function. This is part of the revelations contained in the Controller and Auditor General’s report that was tabled in Parliament on Wednesday. The report, covering the 2003-2004 period, has graphic details on misappropriation of public funds by various ministries and departments. The auditor raises queries on various anomalies on expenditures, ranging from road construction, procurement of goods and services to unaccounted imprests amounting to billions of shillings. It questions why the Government paid out Sh2,827,808,727 to a foreign contractor as part payment for the construction of the Sultan Hamud-Mtito Andei section of the Mombasa Road, and only accounted for Sh1.5 billion. The Controller and Auditor-General, Mr E Mwai, also questions the use of public funds to construct Maji Mazuri Airstrip in Koibatek District, yet the facility is located on a private land. He has also called for investigations to determine why the Kenya Roads Board continued to use Fuel Levy Funds to maintain the airstrip. The report also shows that Sh12.6 billion disbursed to local authorities for the last five years have not fully been accounted for. The Office of the President (OP) cannot account for Sh50 million paid to facilitate retired President Moi’s trip to the United States. But the most interesting anomaly was the airlifting of presidential speeches to various parts of the country on the eve of the three national holidays at cost of Sh1.9 million per day. On the famine relief funds collected by the Government, the report notes that there are no records of receipt and disbursement. The Government collected substantial amounts of cash and food after President Kibaki declared famine a national disaster. The audit of the monetary and other donations made through the Ministry of Special programmes revealed that the ministry did not keep a donations’ register indicating the donors and the amounts received. It also raises serious queries about expenses incurred by the Government on the Somali Peace Talks between years 2002 to 2005. The report shows that the Government and development partners spent Sh1.9 billion on the talks without any supporting documents. “Copies of minutes of the conference were not made available for audit review, making it difficult to confirm if all delegates on whom Sh1.88 billion had been spent as at 31st December were genuine delegates and participants in the entire peace process,” the report said. It also brings to light expenditure anomalies at Kenya’s foreign missions. It details how the missions failed to adhere to government tender regulations. The report accuses the London mission of spending Sh7 million to refurbish Harambee House and the High Commissioner’s residence without tendering process. “The procurement committee gave no reason why the lowest bidder who quoted Sh3 million was not considered.” It also singles out The Hague for spending Sh1.6 million to repair the ambassador’s residence without the due tendering process. “No evidence has been seen to confirm that the work was carried out,” it concludes. The Ministries of Water and Justice spent Sh151.8 million without Parliament’s approval. That was far in excess of Sh85.6 million illegally paid out in the previous financial year. The report lists the Ministries of Water Resources, Energy and Justice and Constitutional Affairs as culprits. The Water Ministry incurred Sh149.8 million on its recurrent budget, while the Ministry of Energy used Sh1.4 million illegally on the same vote. The Ministry of Justice was said to have incurred an illegal expenditure of Sh614,000 on the Development Vote. The report also shows that Sh12.6 billion disbursed to local authorities for the last five years has not fully been accounted for. The report says Section 9 (C) of the Local Authorities Transfer Fund Act requires Officers administering the fund to prepare, sign and transmit to the Controller and Auditor General annually the fund’s account for audit. The report questioned accounting method used at the Office of the Vice President and Ministry of Home Affairs to account for funds. He questioned the entering of Sh3.42 million and Sh370,900 relating to replacement of motor vehicles and purchase of computers by Prison Industries under Trading Profit and Loss account and under assets in the balance sheet. ‘ The East African Standard.

May 2006
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