MPs clear Kenya minister over budget scandal

May 13, 2009 12:00 am

, NAIROBI, Kenya, May 13 – Finance Minister Uhuru Kenyatta has been cleared of any wrong doing in the Supplementary Budget fiasco by the Joint Finance and Budgetary Committee.
A report of the committee tabled in Parliament on Wednesday however confirmed that there were irregularities in the estimates amounting to Sh10.7 billion. The report however confirmed that the money had not been lost.
"The Auditor General told the committee that the discrepancy is not stolen and on the face value would mean that the money has not been spent," the report said.
The Committee has recommended that Mr Kenyatta withdraws the mini-budget and makes corrections.
"Since there are inconsistencies, they should be withdrawn and the correct estimates resubmitted," the report stated.
The inquiry revealed that: “There was either a human error that was known to some officers who did not report the same for remedial action thus there might have been purposeful interference in the system."
The committee called for an independent forensic audit to establish the cause of the discrepancies.
Parliament passed the estimates two weeks ago but a week later Imenti Central MP Gitobu Imanyara raised the red flag and demanded that Mr Kenyatta clear the air on the discrepancies. He had initially said that the discrepancies amounted to Sh9.2 billion. The Finance Minister acted angrily on the accusations and read political sabotage in the saga.

He pleaded his innocence and maintained that he did not dupe MPs into approving the funds. Mr Kenyatta has however retreated and admitted that a ‘typographical’ error was to blame for the inconsistencies.
The committee submitted that: "The Fiscal Management Bill should be approved and enacted as a matter of urgency."
Parliament was set to discuss the report on Wednesday afternoon after which the fate of the Supplementary Appropriation Bill that was withdrawn last week would be known. The committee grilled Finance Minister Uhuru Kenyatta, the Finance Permanent Secretary Joseph Kinyua, the budgetary staff and outsiders from finance institutions.


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