Kenya MPs to probe budget saga

May 6, 2009 12:00 am

, NAIROBI, Kenya, May 6 – National Assembly Speaker Kenneth Marende on Wednesday directed a joint Finance and Budget Parliamentary Committee to probe the ”missing” Sh9.2 billion in the Supplementary Budget.

Mr Marende directed the joint committee to reconcile the supplementary estimates presented by Finance Minister Uhuru Kenyatta last week and the budgetary figures. The Speaker gave the joint committee until next Tuesday to come up with a report saying Kenyans deserve to know the truth as regards how tax payer’s money is spent.

“This is a matter that, on the face of it, is grave. A figure of this amount is mind boggling,” Mr Marende said.

Imenti Central MP Gitobu Imanyara raised the red flag on Tuesday and demanded that Mr Uhuru clear the air on the discrepancies. The Finance Minister however pleaded his innocence and maintained that he did not dupe MPs into approving the funds. Mr Kenyatta did not take in the ruling of the speaker lightly and saw it as casting aspersion on his credibility.

“The issue before this House not only brings to dispute my personal integrity but on that of the entire treasury on a matter that we have clearly illustrated,” he said.

“The committee will merely confirm as the position and I don’t see anything wrong with that. If anything it will exonerate you,” Mr Marende responded to his plea.

Raising issues with the ministerial statement Mr Imanyara maintained that the Supplementary Budget was different and higher than what the Deputy PM actually intended to withdraw from the public coffers

“There are 200 inconsistencies and I have been able to show that the estimates that were made in the House, the figure given is not the same that was passed by this House last week,” he said in his application.
Also in Parliament, Prime Minister Raila Odinga said that he had directed the Ministry of Finance to immediately withdraw a directive outlawing spouses from working in the same parastatals within the ministry. During his maiden Prime Minister’s Time in Parliament, Mr Odinga said the move was ill advised and that the Cabinet had not approved the decision.

“There is no law or official regulation barring employment of married couples in the same Parastatals. The Grand Coalition would not wish to disrupt the livelihoods of public servants but is committed to support the family unit,” he said in his defence.

He has further directed the Ministry of Public Service to come up with a draft policy on the issue.

“I wish to assure all public servants that the government will continue to safeguard their rights in order to provide them a conducive environment quality service delivery. Good corporate governance requires that cases of real or perceived conflict of interest are dealt with fairly and firmly,” he said.

The directive issued by Permanent Secretary Joseph Kinyua was meant to check on graft in the Parastatals and has been met with a lot of resistance from leaders and interest groups.


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