Governor Waititu cornered: Does Kiambu County finance State House and peace operations in S Sudan?

Kiambu Governor Ferdinand Waititu speaking at the county headquarters. He was today grilled by the Senate Committee on expenditure at the county. [File, Standard]

It has been a long day for Kiambu Governor Ferdinand Waititu explaining strange 2018/2019 budget lines and expenditures to the Senate Public Accounts Committee.

In what has taken Kenyans by surprise, the audit reveals that Kiambu County government may have allocated budgets for functions that have nothing to do with Kiambu County. 

Armed with the Auditor-General’s report, the Moses Kajwang-led Senate Public Accounts Committee sought to know the origin of discrepancies.

According to the audit report, Kiambu County allocated a mind-blowing Sh973 million to State House Affairs (Co-ordination of State House functions). 

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Another weird expenditure was on the administration of statutory benefits for retired presidents at a cost of Sh180 million and state corporation advisory service at a cost of Sh591 million.

The most puzzling expenditure cited in the report cited was that Kiambu County Government allocated Sh 58 million to peace-keeping in South Sudan.

While going through the expenditure, Homa Bay Senator Moses Kajwang said:

"If you go further...you will find that County Government of Kiambu has a budget line of Kenya-South Sudan advisory services at Sh58,108,000."

"And when you go further under Education, Gender, Culture and Social Services, Kiambu County Government had a budget line for Free Primary Education at Sh804 million," Kajwang read, dropping another shocker in the Waititu looked calm.

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As questions mounted, Governor Waititu had to chip in with a rebuttal.

He denied the budget lines and the attendant expenditure adding that even himself was shocked by the numbers and the budgetary allocations.

"What I have seen is also new to me. I think it is a misuse of the National Government template because nobody could have assumed that we have such figures in our county. Because we don't have a budget for those things and therefore there is no expense at all," Waititu replied.

According to Waititu, his administration did not spend money on free primary education and South Sudan. He said that the problem arose from 'misuse of templates' of the National Government his finance department. 

The governor, who was flanked with his Kiambu County Finance CEC Wilson Kang'ethe, tried to persuade the committee to allow the man in charge of finance in the county to give a comment.

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 Little did he know that the ensuing question would leave them wordless.

"Aah, Governor is he the same CEC who signed on 28th of September that the statement presents a fair picture?" Sen Kajwang asked. Mr Waititu dropped a blank helpless look at his CEC.

The committee punched holes on Waititu's responses which it said were laden with irregularities.

For instance, Kiambu Senator Kimani Wamatangi told Waititu that he cannot deny that he does not know the figures, and at the same time tell the committee that he has filed a response to the Auditor-General.

"These figures are the figures you responded to. There is no way you can say you responded to something else. These variants here, of Sh45 billion are the ones you responded to in that report that you filed," Wamatangi stated.

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Governor Waititu then shifted gears blaming his woes on political opponents, whom he said had hatched plans to malign his name ahead of the 2022 General Elections.

This was however cut short when Senator Kajwang shot another question on his alleged ‘misuse of template’ and how the funds were spent.

He asked: “How will this committee establish how this Sh793 million purportedly paid for free primary education was spent. Where did it go to? How can we confirm that (Waititu’s allegations) because what we have has been certified and signed by your CEC?”

Waititu interjected furiously hinting at possible manipulation of the report.

“I want to believe that this report was not interfered with by anybody to put in those things so that when I come here I will be cornered the way you’re cornering me,” said Waititu’.

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Ferdinand WaitituSenate Public Accounts CommitteeAuditor-GeneralSouth SudanState HouseBudget