, NAIROBI, Kenya, Dec 10 – The National Assembly’s Public Accounts Committee has recommended the prosecution of officers attached to the office of the President over alleged mismanagement of funds.
While presenting three reports before the House, committee Chairman Ababu Namwamba said the team was concerned over an apparent withdrawal of money classified as ‘confidential expenditure’ which involved huge sums of money and whose purpose was not known.
“The so called confidential expenditure involved huge cash withdrawals with neither explanation or any logical rationale. The committee noted that in many instances multiple withdrawals of up to five times would be made in a day; for instance 26th February 2013 five withdrawals in amounts ranging from Sh20 to 30 million each were made for a sum total of Sh130 million,” he said.
He went to indicate that the biggest culprit was the Ministry of Internal Security which, between April 4 and June 30, 2013, withdrew cash amounting to Sh190 million.
The committee provided excerpts from some of the evidence of the withdrawals made during the proceedings, and which sadly could not determine how the money was spent.
The committee had also learnt that transactions were handled by one officer, Ben Kihia, a senior accountant at the Office of the President, who has worked at the ministry for close to 10 years and who declined to honour a transfer to the Industrialisation Ministry, and despite all this no action was taken and he continues working at the Interior Ministry.
To this end, the committee recommended the Director of Public Prosecutions investigate the matter and take action on the accounting officers and public officers found guilty.
“The appointing authority must take immediate stern internal disciplinary action against those culpable including surcharges and withdrawal of appointment of the accounting officers. They must also bear direct personal responsibility and liability for any public funds lost, wasted or misapplied by reason of their direction or under their watch,” continued Namwamba.
They also recommended an overhaul of the law and practice governing confidential expenditure in government to protect public funds from abuse in the pretext of National security.
Committee member and Suba MP John Mbadi did not mince his words when he recommended the prosecution of accounting officers involved in the scam which saw the taxpayer lose over Sh2.8 billion and his target was Mutea Iringo, the former Permanent Secretary in the ministry.
“On 5th March 2013, just a day after the General Election, this Ministry withdrew Sh300 million in cash. That is why this committee is recommending appropriate disciplinary and prosecutorial action against the Permanent Secretary responsible for this ministry at this time Mutea Iringo must be held responsible, must be prosecuted!” stated Mbadi.
Several other accounting officers have been mentioned with the debate expected to continue on Thursday after a procedural motion was passed to allow for a sitting in the morning before the House goes on recess for the Christmas holidays.