Treasury, Defence grilled over Sh2b Amisom funds

Defense Principal Secretary Dr Ibrahim Mohamed at a Milimani court. [Collins Kweyu, Standard]

Parliament yesterday took the Ministry of Defence and National Treasury to task over missing Sh2 billion linked to a grant from the African Union Mission to Somalia (Amisom).

In a letter from Treasury dated July 26, 2018, the Defence ministry was named as a receiver of Sh8.5 billion which translated to Sh6.5 billion by the time of receipt, according to the Auditor General’s report.

“We have accounted for all the funds we received from Amisom to the National Treasury,” said Defence Principal Secretary Ibrahim Mohamed.

Cornered by the National Assembly Public Accounts Committee Chairman Opiyo Wandayi to explain how the final funds received ended up being Sh2 billion less, both Treasury and Defence ministries could not explain the disparity in the initially intended funds and what made its way to the ministry’s account.

“The initial budget of the financial year ending 2019 was Sh8.5 billion and later reduced to Sh6.5 billion. The basis of the reduced funds was occasioned by the reduction in the number of personnel,” argued PS Mohamed.

While other Defence senior officials tried to explain to the committee that the reduction of funds was occasioned by the pullout of troops from regions such as South Sudan, the explanation was quickly countered by Garissa Township MP Aden Duale in a heated session that saw journalists asked to step out.

“Amisom cannot be about troops in South Sudan, Liberia or DRC. It is about troops in Somalia. So tell us how many troops were withdrawn and what occasioned that move,” said Duale.

Similar to last week’s meeting where Treasury requested the committee for time to “dig deeper” after a session of many unanswered questions, yesterday's meeting saw similar scenes of discrepancies between different officials over the same issue.

“There are many unanswered questions with very few answers,” said Wandayi.

It is at this point that the PS Defence requested to have a closed meeting without the Press.

The PS cited “security issues” as the reason for the request for a closed meeting, stating it would not be in order to reveal the number of troops pulled out of Somalia at the time.