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Kenya’s tender system prone to fraud, say MPs as they pass mini budget

COUNTIES
By Alphonce Shiundu | June 4th 2015

NAIROBI: MPs Wednesday attacked President Uhuru Kenyatta’s order that procurement and financial transactions be conducted through a management system. They said the system was opaque, open to manipulation and an avenue to shield the theft of public resources from the eyes of parliamentary committees.

The ire over the Integrated Financial Management Information System (IFMIS) – the mega database through which the National Treasury manages the budget billions—came as the MPs approved a Sh50.4 billion Supplementary Budget for the current financial year, with just 26 days to go to the end of the financial year.

Majority Leader Aden Duale (Garissa) made a last-minute change to the bill to make sure the money is released this morning soon after President Kenyatta assents to the bill to allow MPs to pay their staff salary arrears for the past three months.

The MPs said the uproar over IFMIS came because it had been allocated Sh1 billion yet at this stage, the system should just be operating at minimal cost.

In the Supplementary Budget, the National Treasury has been allocated Sh6.65 billion for IFMIS and ICT-related expenditure, pending bills and tax expenses and transfers to State corporations”.

But the MPs said this was too much for a system that has been operating. They said they will only be happy with the system after it is cleared by the Auditor General Edward Ouko.

“The Auditor General has to come in and investigate this system, because, as a software engineer, I can tell you IFMIS is being used as a conduit for siphoning money from the public coffers in the name of software management,” said David Bowen (Marakwet East).

Bowen said the system was meant to have modules to handle staff and financial issues, but to date, the personnel and payroll matters are being managed outside IFMIS.

The MPs argued that once a system is developed, the maintenance should not be expensive.

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