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Ministers dismiss claims of missing billions

BUSINESS
By | July 22nd 2011

By Ally Jamah and Macharia Kamau

Public Health and Sanitation Minister Beth Mugo and her Roads counterpart Franklin Bett have dismissed the Auditor-General’s report, which shows that their ministries have not accounted for billions of shillings in the 2009/2010 financial year.

Responding to a story published in The Standard, Mugo attributed claims in the report to money given to the Kenya Medical Supplies Agency (Kemsa) to buy drugs and non-pharmaceutical materials.

"By the time the Auditor-General came, we had not received necessary receipts from Kemsa since the drugs had not yet been bought.

But now, all records are available to show how the money was spent. Anyone interested in seeing the receipts is welcome," she said.

The minister said the matter has now been settled with the Auditor-General’s office after making the necessary clarifications.

Public Health PS Mark Bor said the Auditor-General is only interested in documents and not explanations.

Funds released

Head of Finance Department Judith Nyangawa said the procurement process at Kemsa usually takes three to six months and may have overspilled to the end of the financial year on which the Auditor-General based his calculations.

Mugo further explained that imprests not surrendered amounting to Sh480 million as at June 30, were in respect to funds released to ongoing projects and have since been accounted for using expenditure vouchers.

Bett, whose docket according to the report failed to account for Sh889 million last year, said it had forwarded documents on the ministry’s spending to the Kenya National Audit Office, but the office failed to capture the information in its annual report.

Bett, however, admitted that late submission of documents to the national audit office, which he said took place in March this year, at a time when the draft to the report had already been done.

According to the Auditor-General’s report, the ministry owed suppliers and contractors Sh9.5 billion.

The money was mostly owed to road contractors and was carried over to the 2010/2011 year.

Bett explained the unsettled bills were due to lack of money, but added that they would be paid in the 2010/2011 financial year.

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