Drought agency denies Sh10 billion audit query

Kwale Governor Salim Mvurya (centre) and National Drought Management Authority Board chairman Raphael Nzomo (left) during the commissioning of Kwa Diki water pan in Kinango, Kwale County. [Courtesy]

The National Drought Management Authority yesterday criticised an audit report which had accused it of failing to account for Sh10 billion.

The Auditor General's report for the 2017/18 year that was tabled in Parliament last month, noted the drought agency did not account for Sh10.42 billion.

The ten items flagged in the report include the Sh5.2 billion Hunger Safety Net Programme (HSNP) and the Sh2 billion National Drought Emergency Fund (NDEMF).

Yesterday, NDMA chairman Raphael Nzomo said the report contained "professional error" and accused the auditors of failing to tour the projects before compiling the document.

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“How can they say we cannot account for NDEF seed money when we are still waiting for Parliament to enact the regulations to operationalise the Fund?” asked Nzomo.

He said the money is in the bank earning premium as Parliament continues with the legislative process to enact regulations.

Nzomo said NDMA will make a presentation to Parliamentary Investment Committee of the National Assembly to clear its name.

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“Such uncorroborated reports can damage NDMA's reputation in the eyes of our partners. We are glad international organisations that support our fight against drought have dismissed it,” he said.

He said the HSNP is funded by the government and the Department for International Development (DFID) to the tune of about Sh5.2 billion annually.

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The government signed an HSNP agreement with DFID in 2013. Prior to that the programme was funded entirely by the government of Kenya and audited by the Auditor General.

Speaking in Kwale on Wednesday, Nzomo said since 2013, the HSNP donor component is audited by Financial Sector Deepening (FSD), which is appointed by DFID.

“NDMA generated the payrolls and FSD, through Equity Bank, credited beneficiary accounts. All documents relating to these transactions were presented to the auditors,” he said.

In the audit report, OAG has also raised questions about the HSNP beneficiaries, how they were targeted and how the cash transfer rates were arrived at.

Nzomo claimed that in social protection, targeting is undertaken once for the duration of the project, adding that the registration and targeting of beneficiaries was done in 2013.

“The next targeting process will be next year. This process and how the rates were arrived at was presented to the Auditor General,” he said.

Supply water

Nzomo was speaking in Kinango, Kwale County, after launching a Sh10.6 million dam the agency constructed. The dam will supply water to six villages in Kinango.

“We will still make the same presentation to the parliamentary committee and clear our name there. Hopefully, this issue of HSNP and NDEF will not form part of this discussion once the auditor is on board,” he said.

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National Drought Management AuthorityAuditor General