Ministries and agencies on the spot over missing billions

By Lee Mwiti | Wednesday, Aug 29th 2018 at 22:54
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Auditor General Edward Ouko (r), Institute of Certified Public Secretaries of Kenya Chief Executive Officer Obare Nyaega (l) and Chairman Tom Omariba at Sarova Panaafric Hotel. [Jenipher Wachie/Standard]

New analysis of auditor general’s reports for three financial years shows a big chunk of the Sh2.5tr allocation cannot be accounted for.

The ongoing war on graft in the country is likely to shift to Government ministries, with a new report showing that taxpayers have lost billions of shillings in shoddy procurement deals.

According to the report by policy think-tank, Institute of Economic Affairs (IEA), in the 2015/16 financial year alone, 88 per cent of all ministries, agencies and departments could not produce receipts and invoices for goods purchased.

As a result, a big chunk of the Sh2.5 trillion total budgetary allocation for Government expenditure in the 2013/14, 2014/15 and 2015/16 financial years, could have fallen into the wrong hands.

IEA in the report released yesterday tracked Auditor General Edward Ouko’s audits that gave a doubtful or outrightly dubious status to some of the expenditure.

“The biggest culprits for squandering expenditure budgets are government ministries followed by commissions and independent bodies,” said IEA Chief Executive Kwame Owino at the report’s launch in Nairobi.

The report dubbed “Public Procurement In Kenya: Analysis of the Auditor General’s Reports” showed that six per cent of the ministries failed entirely to even provide basic information that was requested by the auditor, with only four per cent given a clean bill of health.

As a result, only Sh45 billion of the Sh1.1 trillion that was allocated for State expenditure in the 2015/16 financial year can be accounted for.

In the 2014/15 financial year, 88 per cent of the Ministries, Departments and Agencies (MDAs) could not fully account how they spent their procurement budgets.

At the same time, 11 per cent were an unable to provide any information about the procurement they did and only one per cent were found to be fully compliant.

Prevented audits

In that year, Sh783 billion was allocated for expenditure, out of which Sh775 billion could not be accounted for.

“The data reveals that ministries not only have a high tendency of poor record keeping, they are also the ones responsible for preventing the auditor general from carrying out audits by keeping information away from him,” said Mr Owino.

Of the entities reviewed in the 2015/16 financial year, the State Department of Infrastructure was the biggest culprit, failing to account for Sh85.6 billion it was allocated.

In the 2014/15 year, the Departments of Infrastructure, Education, Transport, water, environment, foreign affairs and International trade as well as the National Gender and Equality Commission collectively failed to account for Sh194 billion in expenditure.

In the 2013/14 financial year, the Ministry of Interior and Coordination was the biggest culprit by failing to account for Sh93.2 billion.

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