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Ababu Namwamba committee Thursday
watered down claims by Cord leader Raila
Odinga that Sh15 billion had been taken in
trucks from Central Bank during the
transition period from President Mwai
Kibaki’s government.

And the office of the Auditor General insisted
only Sh2.4 billion spent by the Office of the
President in the last financial year was
unaccounted for.

Raila has claimed that almost Sh15 billion was
carted away from the Central Bank by officials
in the then Office of the President in his
referendum rallies.

But Namwamba was restrained by the
prejudice rule, as he could not be seen to
appear to make a determination on a matter that was still under consideration by the committee.

He nonetheless warned against political statements from leaders that he said were injurious to the careers of others.

Committee chair Namwamba declared: “Anybody interested in politics can do so in rallies. The correct figure is before the committee, though we do not know what they will say in rallies as the weekend nears. This committee will be interested in facts. If
there is any committee in the House that can rise above petty politics, it is this one. I can assure you that we will be factual in our determination”.

“Stories published from such statements only make our work difficult, because if it is reported that a huge amount has not been accounted for, but upon verification of documents it is determined that the
figure is not factual, in the eyes of the public it will appear that we have been compromised while defending our findings in the House,” Namwamba said.

“Balancing the acts of oversight and accountability with national security is a delicate issue, but we will strive to ensure the matter is addressed,”Namwamba assured the audit office.

Esau Ndeda, a manager at the Kenya National Audit Office who oversaw the auditing of the ministry, told Parliament’s Public Accounts Committee that he did not have an opinion to support the expenditure of Sh2.4 billion for lack of documentation.

The unaccounted-for figure is tagged under
confidential expenditure, but the matter was left for the committee to make a determination.

“We were not able to access confidential documents from the ministry to enable us to make an opinion on the expenditure of the Sh2.4 billion,” Ndeda told the committee.

But Interior Permanent Secretary Monica Juma denied that the money was missing, saying it was properly accounted for under the confidential Vote guidelines.

She said the ministry has all the documents which, however, will remain confidential.

“The ministry complied with the regulations and there were no diversions from the financial
requirements because the standard of proof and the threshold were met. It is not a peculiar operation in the ministry,” Juma said.

“In case of a confidential Vote, the accounting system requires the minister to give certification on the expenditure and that was done. The auditors were given the certification, but they said they cannot base their opinion on that,” said the PS.

The Auditor General’s reports for 2012/13 and
2011/12 revealed that only Sh8.6 billion had not been accounted for properly in the Interior ministry.

However, upon verification of documents, the figure was reduced to Sh2.4 billion, after the ministry produced the required details to account for expenditure of Sh6 billion.

The Sh2.4 billion was transferred from the ministry Vote Head and banked under account name PCOM, which was operated by the ministry at the National Bank of Kenya, to fund the National Intelligence Service and the ministry’s operations.

But yesterday Mutea Iringo, who was the PS in the ministry at the time, denied the claims when he appeared before the PAC with Juma.

The committee is chaired by Budalang’i MP Ababu Namwamba.

“Mr Chairman, this matter has been over-politicised in public rallies; that over Sh15 billion has not been accounted for. Our names are soiled by the media reports,” Iringo said, urging the committee to set the record straight.

However, the committee questioned what it claimed were suspect huge over-the-counter cash withdrawals to fund the ministry’s operations.

For instance, on June 28, 2012, three withdrawals of Sh100 million and Sh80 million were made on the same day above the Sh700,000 allowed by a CBK circular.

Other withdrawals were made on December
21, 2012, of Sh35 million, Sh35 million and Sh30 million.

Two days before, amounts of Sh10 million and Sh20 million had also been withdrawn, followed by Sh30 million and Sh40 million made a day later.

It was also brought to the watchdog committee’s attention that withdrawals of Sh20 million and Sh30 million were made on December 23 and 31, 2013, respectively.

“The African Story as told by Africans”.©African News Digest®

“The African Story as told by Africans”.©African News Digest®