By Ally Jamah
An NGO has raised the red flag over the expensive fuel-guzzlers surrendered by top State officials.
It warned they could disappear into thin air or be sold off at throwaway prices to influential people if Kenyans don’t watch out.
Mars Group Kenya — which blew the whistle on massive "typing errors" in the Government budget early this year — has expressed concern that taxpayers could lose big in the ongoing vehicle replacement scheme.
"The Government has not yet accounted for the vehicles that were surrendered in the financial year 2008/2009. How can we be assured that this time round they will be accounted for?" asked Executive Director Mwalimu Mati in a statement.
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In June last year, the then Finance Minister Amos Kimunya announced the Government would sell off 2,213 vehicles to reduce the huge transport expenditure that stood in excess of Sh4 billion annually.
By last December, the Government had sold off 488 vehicles through open tender and raised Sh194,061,335. The Government said another 1,600 vehicles were in various stages of being sold. But in this year’s Budget, Finance Minister Uhuru Kenyatta said the amount the Government had received from the sale of vehicles was only Sh14,825,080, including those paid to the exchequer.
"What happened to Sh194,061,335 that Treasury claimed to have already received for 488 cars? This money must be in someone’s pocket. What about the money from the sale of the other cars?" asked Mati.
At the time reports had surfaced that Government vehicles were sold off at throwaway prices. The reports indicated the vehicles ended up in the hands of well-connected individuals and companies.
"Are we going to see a repeat of this scenario when the Passats replace the current vehicles?" asked Mati.
He added: "Kenyans deserve answers from Treasury. We do not trust this Treasury with our money."