Interior PS Monica Juma told to recover Sh6.9 million which Kalonzo's wife 'got irregularly'

A parliamentary watchdog committee has ordered Interior Principal Secretary Monica Juma to pursue the wife of former Vice President Kalonzo Musyoka over Sh6.9 million she allegedly got irregularly from the taxpayer.

In a report scheduled for tabling in the National Assembly, the Public Accounts Committee (PAC) asked Dr Juma to ensure that Kalonzo's wife, Pauline Kalonzo, paid the money by New Year's Eve. If this did not happen, the committee said, Cabinet Secretary for National Treasury Henry Rotich would have to censure Dr Juma for failing to do her job.

In shocking revelations regarding the findings of Auditor General Edward Ouko over the 2010-2011 financial year, it emerged that Ms Kalonzo was on the Government payroll just because her husband was a minister. Kalonzo doubled up as Vice President and Home Affairs minister at the time.

The Auditor General discovered the anomaly when he realised there was a hole of Sh6,872,424 in the ministry's books that he could not account for. When he pressed for answers, he was told the money was paid to Kalonzo's wife. He asked for details to ascertain whether she was a legitimate civil servant in the ministry but got none.

"The difference in question included an amount paid to the wife of the former Vice President who was on the ministry's (2008 to 2013) payroll," the committee notes in its report.

Meal allowance

The key committee, which audits Government expenditure, had asked the PS for Interior, under which many aspects of the Home Affairs docket the former VP held fall, to give proof that the payments were legitimate.

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"The committee directed the accounting officer to make available for audit verification the letter of her appointment, the basis for the payment and authority for the payment... The accounting officer, however, failed to oblige," the report reads.

If the National Assembly approves the report, Kalonzo will have to pay back all the money.

The report seen by The Standard also showed that the staff in Kalonzo's office wolfed down Sh71.5 million in "meal allowance" in the financial year 2010-2011.

To the Auditor General, the big question was why they were being paid extra for meals when they were doing work for which they earned a salary from public funds.

"Besides the fact that the officers were carrying out normal duties for which they are paid, no approval for the payment appears to have been obtained from the accounting officer.

"In addition, no explanation has been provided for charging expenditure on meal allowances to domestic travel, subsistence and other transportation costs," the auditors noted in their report.

The explanation from the accounting officer (the report does not say who this was) was that meal allowance was provided for in the civil service and was under the code of regulations.

The excuse is that Kalonzo was not just the Vice President but also Minister for Home Affairs and Leader of Government Business.

Prisons reforms

"His official duties characteristically went way beyond normal working hours, weekend and public holidays and, therefore, various staff that served in his office had to work long hours to cope with the requirements of the office," the officials familiar with the colossal meal payments made in 2010-2011 told PAC.

The accounting officer also added that the staff were working overtime to implement reforms in the prisons within 100 days.

"A lot had to be achieved within a shorter time-frame and the staff had to sacrifice for the sake of the reform activities by working late and also on weekends. Other activities the ministry engaged in included court escorts and preparation of court probation reports, monitoring and evaluation, performance contracting, budgetary process ..." read the ministry's brief in the PAC report.

They said the auditors ought not question the payments because they were approved by officers with the authority to incur expenditure as picked by the accounting officer.

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Vice President Kalonzo Musyoka Public Accounts Committee