MPs want tougher punishment on graft

April 3, 2012 3:16 pm
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The House team Chairman Boni Khalwale expressed concern that lack of action against such offenders had failed deter theft from the public coffers/FILE

, NAIROBI, Kenya Apr 3 – Parliament’s Public Accounts Committee (PAC) is now demanding sterner action against public officials who are suspected to have benefited or taken part in the misappropriation of public funds under their care.

The House team Chairman Boni Khalwale expressed concern that lack of action against such offenders had failed deter theft from the public coffers.

The committee had on Tuesday summoned Finance Permanent Secretary Joseph Kinyua, where it cited the Kenya Education Sector Support Program from which funds were misappropriated in 2010 but those who were linked to it have not been held to account.

“There are senior officer who are walking around scot-free and the tax payer is now being asked to refund that which they misappropriated. To your knowledge has any action been taken towards those officers?” Khalwale asked.

The UK government has frozen funding for free primary education in Kenya until an investigation into fraud allegations has been carried out.

The Department for International Development said no more money would be released until Sh82 million (£615,000) thought to be missing had been accounted for.

An officer was convicted last month over misappropriated funds in the education sector.

Enos Magwa, who served as a deputy director for education was convicted of stealing Sh1.3 million and false accounting of Sh1.9 million shillings in 2008.

Magwa was sentenced to three years in jail and fined Sh3.6 million. Failure to pay the fine could result in an additional two years in prison.

The money was supposed to go towards building new classrooms and buying text books in impoverished parts of Kenya.

The funds are said to have disappeared in 2010.

The Treasury PS revealed the government was still negotiating with the World Bank and other development partners on ways to refund Sh2.1 billion which had been misappropriated.

Gichugu MP Martha Karua and Bura MP Abdi Nuh said Kenyans were paying dearly for delayed projects because the government had been condoning corruption in its offices.

“If it is of a magnitude where a PS ought to have known; we would like to hear of a PS who is demoted or just fired for irregular expenditure, because there is a procedure if you need to divert from you line,” said the Gichugu MP.

Karua added; “Unauthorised spending is a big, big problem in government and we want to see some serious administrative action, which makes people shrink every time they think of it.”

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