NAIROBI, Kenya, Jul 29 – The Auditor General has urged Parliament’s Public Accounts Committee to review reports recently released by his office and give directions over how unaccounted billions will be recovered.
Edward Ouko says most ministries could not account for the huge sums of monies allocated to them while others gave unjustifiable reasons for spending the cash running into billions of shillings.
In the report, out of the Sh1.4 trillion allocated to the National Government, Sh68 billion was classified as unsupported expenditure while an excess of Sh24 billion was spent without the approval of Parliament with various other amounts seemingly disappearing into thin air.
“If you go to the reports, you can actually make up your mind and see exactly what I am seeing for future amounts. Some recommendations we make are systemic but there are others that are made on individual ministries. These ones have to be determined by the PAC and action taken on the respective individuals,” said Ouko.
He called on the Nicholas Gumbo-led committee to hastily take up the matter as billions of taxpayers’ monies had been lost and so as to curb future misuse of public funds.
In a rejoinder, Health Cabinet Secretary James Macharia whose Ministry is accused of spending up to Sh24 billion without Parliament’s approval rubbished the Auditor’s report terming it as baseless.
Macharia also dismissed reports that accounting officers under his ministry had failed to state the source of the extra funds during the audit review for the 2013/14 financial year.
“Those of you who know the budgets and figures of ministries know that Sh26 billion for the Ministry of Health cannot be true. I want to ask my good friend Edward Ouko to please ensure the statements he carries are credible,” he said.
According to the Office of the Auditor General, The report has it that the ministry’s statement of receipts and payments reflects total expenditure of over Sh56 billion against the approved sum of Sh32 billion.
“The ministry has not provided parliamentary approval for the excess expenditure or explained the source of the extra funds,” states the report.
Its goes to report that “deposits totalling Sh11 million previously held in former ministries of Medical Services and Ministry of Public Health and Sanitation which merged to form Ministry of Health were never transferred to the new deposit account.”
Other state corporations that had glaring accountability issues include the Judiciary which is said to have contracted M/s MFI Management Document Solution Ltd for leasing of printers, scanning and photocopy services at a cost of Sh51 million per year for three years translating to Sh153 million instead of purchasing their own equipment.
The Auditor general questioned whether the institution got value for money in the deal.
The auditor also noted that despite the Judiciary embarking on a Judicial Transformation Framework so as to hasten the delivery of justice; this was yet to happen as most of the projects had stalled.
However other institutions for instance the Ethics and Anti-Corruption Commission were given a clean bill of health.
Even the Office of the Director of Public Prosecutions was cleared save for the recovery of Sh569 million from a member of staff who damaged a company vehicle in a self-caused accident and had since only been surcharged Sh9, 000 out of Sh578,733.
The outcome of the report is expected to elicit a heated debate even as the Ethics and Anti-Corruption Commission grapples with the hundreds of corruption related cases it is investigating.
The Senate Public Accounts Committee is at the same time reviewing the auditor’s reports or the 47 counties.
Transparency International Kenya Executive Director Samuel Kimeu in reaction to the revelations by the Auditor general has accused Parliament of failing in its oversight role.
Kimeu urged institutions named in the report as having failed to account for the monies to account for the monies to ensure public funds are not lost in unscrupulous ways.