Queries as DP Gachagua seeks Sh1.2bn to renovate offices, buy medals


Deputy President Rigathi Gachagua when he hosted a meeting with the Nairobi-based small-scale traders at Harambee House Annex, Nairobi on March 1, 2023. [PCS]

Deputy President Rigathi Gachagua is now seeking Sh1.12 billion for the refurbishment of his offices in Karen and Harambee House Annex.

According to documents tabled before the National Assembly Committee on Administration and Internal Security, Sh660 million will be for his official residence while Sh460.4 million will be spent to renovate the city centre office.

At the same time, the DP plans to spend Sh200 million to buy new vehicles, Sh250 million for the implementation of an alcohol, drugs and substance abuse program and Sh250 million for the purchase of medals, honours and insignia.

Appearing before the committee yesterday, officials from the Office of the DP said Gachagua requires Sh800 million for confidential expenditure.

The committee, which is considering the 2024/2025 Budget, wondered why the DP had set aside such huge amounts for renovations yet the money could be channeled towards development.

Extravagant expenditure

“We need to know more about the renovations of the said offices because we have seen that there is already an allocation of Sh300.4 million. I know we have a few issues at Harambee Annex such as lifts not working but isn’t this figure too high keeping in mind the building is only 10 years old?” said the chairman, Gabriel Tongoyo (Narok).

The committee termed as "extravagant” the plan to spend millions on medals.

Also budgeted for is Sh301.5 million for boards, committees, conferences and seminars, Sh247.7 million for catering services, accommodation, gifts, food and drinks, and Sh205,000 and Sh328.5 million for entertainment and personal allowance respectively.

One official, Patrick Mwangi, defended the requests, noting that the offices had gone for years without repairs. He, however, could not explain the need to refurbish the Karen residence.

He also explained that the decision to by multimillion-shilling medals was in line with the Executive Order Number 2 of 2023 on the re-organisation of the mandate of the DP office, which now coordinates the conferment of honours.

Spent in advance

“The office had requested for an allocation of Sh500 million in the 2024/2025 Budget to procure the required medals before the next award ceremony but it has received an allocation of Sh250 million.”

The committee also heard that the millions had already been expedited in the current financial year through Article 223, which allows the government to spend funds outside the Budget, and the office was seeking regularisation.

Mwangi submitted that the millions were channeled towards coordinating government activities, which involved engagements across the country, implementing programmes such as coordination of alcohol, drugs and substance abuse.

“The fact is that the fight against alcohol and drug abuse has taken on a life of its own. It has a strong relationship between reduction and control of alcoholism,” said Mwangi.

The committee was, however, adamant that the expenditure of Sh200 million for the purchase of vehicles was not a priority. They also protested that the DP’s office had received an allocation of Sh100 million in this year's supplementary estimates II and another Sh100 million in the next financial year.

Mwangi explained that besides the DP’s office, the allocation covers the needs of Dorcas Gachagua.

“We considered the affirmative action of the office of the spouse of the Deputy President, which is key in this fight against alcoholism, and the functions of the said office consequently increased," he said.

Further, he said some money had already been used to buy vehicles for senior officials, while the remaining Sh100 million would purchase vehicles for the junior staff.