Ex-Treasury CS Ukur Yatani coerced me into approving billions, says Controller of Budget Margaret Nyakang'o

Nyakang'o admitted she gave in to pressure and threats. In the messages tabled, Yatani is captured repeatedly begging her to facilitate approvals for a number of payments for different accounts while also dropping names.

"From where i sit i have to use alot of discretion. And I am also a human being. When I am under threat, I also have to self-preserve," she told the committee.

In one request for approval of Sh1 billion "security related payment", Yatanni claimed the contractor was threatening to abandon site due to non payment.

"You need to approve this for us immediately. These projects are security related and contractor is abandoning site due to non payment. There is extreme urgency and I may ask boss to call you if need be," says one of the chat sent on January 4, last year, at 7.31pm.

On April 13 last year, the former CS made another request seeking approvals worth billions for the fuel subsidy: "Please help us urgently clear this to enable us deal with the challenges of petroleum."

But is on the 04/08/2022, four days to the election at 2:13 pm that the former CS was frantic. He needed a number of approvals:

"Good Afternoon, please also facilitate similar approvals for infrastructure ministry for amounts of Ksh8B and kshs2B. An hour later, a more distraught Yattani asks Dr Nyakang'o to "Please help us expedite this" and added; "HE might even call you if we don't deal with this by 4pm."

At this point, Nyakang'o attempts to put up a fight, albeit feebly: "Are you saying we have 26 minutes to complete the process?" The unrelenting ex-CS insisted, again, dropped the big name.

"He's just called and I assured him that I have spoken to you and you promised before the end of the day. I know he'll call again. He persuaded some guys to resume work and promised that their bill be settled by today."

Nyakang'o attempted to move it to the following day but the CS would have none of it: "You need to devise how to deal with it. I am sorry but try."

The dramatic revelations in the probe follows a petition by COFEK secretary general Stephen Mutoro who had claimed that credible information point to Sh55 billion having been spent in the last days of the Jubilee administration without approval of the National Assembly.

Auditor-General Nancy Gathungu. [Mose Sammy, Standard]

To limit MDAs from further spending, the IFMIS was 'locked', pending approval of the first supplementary budget," she states. "As such, there was no access to IFMIS, negatively affecting MDA's budget implementation, especially procurement of goods and services."

Mutoro in his petition noted that the inappropriate and illegal (mis)use of the said Sh55 billion is a pointer to weak mechanisms of transparency and accountability in the run-up to transition from one Government to the other and amounted to blatant corruption.

"The Kenyan taxpayer cannot be put in a situation where s/he must finance an expensive election and an opaque transition where colossal sums of money are lost. Again, this cannot be a precedent that must be set. Tracking and recovery of the said funds, ought to be made a priority and those who broke the law brought to swift justice," the petition read.

He called for mechanisms to avert similar incidents from occurring in future must be put in place. This would be the least that is needed to inspire confidence among Kenyans to pay tax.

Mutoro prayed that Parliament orders the Auditor General to conduct a special forensic audit, within two weeks, on all public expenditures July to September, 2022 and specifically the expenditure that was never voted for by Parliament but was still allocated and spent by Ministries and other Government Agencies

Others Mutoro sought to be probed were Controller of Budget, the accounting officers of all beneficiary allottees and any other relevant officers as well as interested members of the public and professional organizations to give their input.

He also requested parliament to amends the relevant laws to bar outgoing administrations from spending any such public funds not voted by the National Assembly and by dint of the same introduce heavy penalties including life in prison for those found culpable on such economic crimes that amount to treason and economic terrorism.

On Sunday, Gachagua accused the previous regime, for allegedly stealing Sh24 billion in their sunset days and threatened to expose the individuals involved in a few days. He spoke while attending a church service at Winners Chapel in Roysambu.

"In the next few days, I will make public the names of individuals who stole public money before leaving office in the previous regime. They stole Sh24b before they left office," Gachagua says.