By JUMA KWAYERA
In what would make the current appeal for international food relief look like merchants of death shedding crocodile tears, the World Bank report accuses the State of condoning pilferage of funds for provision of water, food and restocking.
Although Kenya is among the Horn of African countries affected by food shortage occasioned by prolonged drought, the Forensic Audit Report: Arid Lands Resource Management â Phase II, published on July 17, casts the grim situation in the north as one precipitated by negligence or financial fiddling.
The report shows suffering would have been avoided if there were accountability and transparency in the mega- project.
The audit, carried out by the World Bankâs Integrity Vice- Presidency (INT), covered expenditures in seven districts during the 2007-2006 and the 2007-2008 financial years, which involved a review and analysis of 28,000 documents.
"The fraudulent behaviors in the transactions identified were broadly consistent in all districts and the headquarters itself and were found in the categories of expenditures including fuel, vehicle repairs, training (capacity building), allowance and per diem, payroll non-recurrent assets," the report, published as the first hunger-related deaths were recorded in northern Kenya, it says.
The Government refuted reports of a riveting situation in northern Kenya, saying the only challenge it faces was the distribution of relief from food secure regions in Rift Valley and western Kenya.
Through spokesman Alfred Mutua, the Government said on Thursday no Kenyan had died of famine.
Details of how Government officials pinched money meant for water and infrastructure development in arid regions ties in with a preliminary report by the Parliamentary Select Committee on the High Cost of Living chaired by Budalangâi MP Ababu Namwamba.
"The hunger situation is self-inflicted. We have a Government that manages by crisis. We raised the issue of how serious hunger was in northern Kenya in June and we recommended that the Government provide food before the situations got out of hand. It sounds awkward to pretend to care for people dying from a situation that would have been averted," says Namwamba.
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