, NAIROBI, Kenya, Nov 3 – World Bank officials have for the second time in a row failed to appear for a meeting with members of the Public Accounts Committee (PAC) over the alleged scam involving Kazi Kwa Vijana funds.
The officials were initially supposed to have a meeting with PAC on October 27 but cancelled it saying that they had another meeting to attend in Washington. They then requested that the meeting be rescheduled for November 3 but did not show up.
Speaking to journalists in Parliament on Thursday, PAC chairman Boni Khalwale said that the officials sent a communiqué cancelling the latest meeting on the grounds that they did not want to get involved in any scam that may have come up between 2008/2009 as they were not funding KKV then.
However an earlier statement from parliamentary staff indicated that the officials from the World Bank cancelled the meeting saying they needed more time to prepare.
“In our letter of invitation we informed the World Bank that they were coming here because the KKV programme had featured in our 2008/2009 Auditor General’s report, which raised queries. We also told them that because of the recent events, we were inviting them because we wanted to deliberate on these issues with them,” he explained.
“So they have taken advantage of the fact that we referred to the accounts of 2008/2009 yet the World Bank started rolling out its funding in March 2010,” Khalwale noted.
He further pointed out that PAC had since sorted out the misunderstanding raised in the invitation letter telling the officials that they would only be required to explain their funding over the 2009/1010 financial year.
He added that the committee had re-invited the officials for another meeting to be held on November 10 arguing that there was no bad blood between them and Parliament.
“We are going to send them another letter and inform them that 2008/2009 is not going to be our core discussion with them. Our main focus would be the current issue,” he stressed.
The Public Accounts Committee is also scheduled to meet Education Minister Sam Ongeri and his accounting officials on November 4, over the free primary education scam.
On Wednesday, there was a heated debate in Parliament when Prime Minister Raila Odinga was put to task over the alleged misappropriation of the KKV funds.
Tempers flared during the afternoon session with the House clearly divided over those who were defending the PM and those who wanted to indict him.
However the PM maintained that no funds were lost in KKV although he eventually admitted that Sh107 million out of Sh308 million, that had initially been marked as ineligible expenditure, had been lost through integrity issues.
The PM also retained his resolve not to resign despite calls by Eugene Wamalwa (Saboti), Khalwale (Ikolomani) and Isaac Ruto (Chepalungu) to do so.
“When it came to the final result of the review, of the 14 expenditure items earlier suspected to be ineligible, nine were in fact no longer questioned,” he stressed.
“Let me end with a quote from John F. Kennedy; ‘A man does what he must, in spite of personal consequences, in spite of obstacles and dangers and pressures, and that is the basis of all human morality,” he countered.
During the session, Khalwale also wanted to know what role four top officials in the PM’s office played in the alleged scam.