Report shows 'fishy' Government spending

Controller of Budget Agnes Odhiambo

A litany of curious expenditure of public funds within the national government in the latest report of the Controller of Budget is raising eyebrows.

The report revealing how agencies within national government spent money between July 2014 and June this year shows that the State Department for Environment spent Sh1.2 billion to purchase tree seeds and seedlings under the green schools project.

In addition, the Government spent 4.2 billion on hospitality, conferences and catering costs, with the Presidency leading under this category by spending Sh1.4 billion.

Other big spenders under this category were the Parliamentary Service Commission (PSC) at Sh337 million and Department of Planning under the Devolution ministry Sh332 million, Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission (IEBC) Sh303.7 million and the Treasury Sh241.7 million.

The entire national government spent Sh6.6 billion on foreign travel and Sh4.2 on domestic travel, with PSC leading in the latter category by spending of Sh3 billion.

Legislators have a penchant for taking frequent "retreats" to high-end hotels at the coast to conduct their meetings or write reports. They also have generous mileage claims for travelling to the constituencies.

The report further shows that the Ministry of Interior spent Sh870 million on legal fees, arbitration and compensation.

According to the report, the department also incurred the highest expenditure on rent within the national government at Sh615.6 million.

The same ministry spent Sh275 million on firewood, charcoal and cooking gas through the Department for Co-ordination of National Government.

The total expenditure for State Department for Interior was Sh21.2 billion while the Department for Co-ordination of National Government spent Sh4.8 billion.

And the Ministry of Foreign Affairs spent Sh181 million on donations, presumably to foreign and visiting dignitaries.

The same ministry also spent Sh78.6 million for shipment of personal and household effects of its staff.

Other expenditures are Sh213.7 million by the Devolution and Planning ministry for bedding. This was spent through the State Department for Planning.

IEBC spent Sh621 million on legal fees while the State Department for Fisheries spent Sh1.1 billion on purchase of boats ostensibly to support its mandate of promoting fishery in the country.

Similarly, the Department for Transport spent Sh600 million on the purchase of boats in what appears to be a duplication roles.

The Department of Agriculture spent Sh108 million on "management fees".

The national government spent Sh3.8 billion on rent in the last financial year, raising questions on why the money couldn't be saved by efficient use of current offices space.

According to the report, personnel emoluments were the highest expenditure for the national government at Sh282.7 billion, gobbling almost half of the total recurrent expenditure of Sh623.2 billion.

Cleaning services

The Judiciary spent Sh50 million on car loans as well as Sh312 million on contracted security and cleaning services. It also spent Sh602.6 million on housing loans.

The report also revealed that the National Treasury spent a staggering Sh1 billion on car loans for public workers and another Sh1 billion for housing loans.

The Department of Education spent Sh393.6 million for sanitary and cleaning materials, supplies and services.

The Ministry of Lands spent Sh262.8 million last year to rearrange files in land registries in nine locations across the country including Mombasa, Kwale, Kilifi, Thika, Kajiado, Kiambu, Meru, Maua and Chuka.

Controller of Budget Agnes Odhiambo said the fight against graft in the Government would boost prudent and responsible use of public resources as envisaged in the Constitution and improve service delivery to Kenyans.