Kenya: Treasury Unable to Account for Sh2.5 Billion for Al-Shabaab War

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The National Treasury cannot account for Sh2.58 billion the African Union Mission in Somalia (Amisom) advanced to the country to finance Kenya Defense Forces war on Al-Shaabab militia.

Treasury Principal Secretary (PS) Dr Julius Muia, yesterday failed to explain the discrepancies between the amounts received from Africa Union (AU) for KDF and what is captured by Auditor-General Nancy Gathungu.

The Auditor-General’s report on the National Treasury accounts for the year 2018/19, captures Sh6.5 billion as the money that was due from AU for the more than 3,600 KDF officers in Somalia.

A July 26, 2018, letter by then Treasury Cabinet Secretary Henry Rotich to then Defense PS Torome Saitoti, however, indicates that Kenya was due to receive Sh8.5 billion from AU for the period under review.

The audit report further shows of the Sh6.5 billion detailed by the Auditor-General, the National Treasury can only account for Sh5.92 billion with the whereabouts of Sh0.58 billion unclear.

“No satisfactory explanation has been rendered for the under collection and measures being put in place to avoid recurrence,” the audit report says of the amount unaccounted for.

On July 6, 2012, KDF fully re-hatted into Amisom after crossing over to Somalia in 2010, to help in the war against the terrorists.

The agreement between the five Troop Contributing Countries (TCC) in Somalia and AU including Kenya, since KDF’s full integration into Amisom, is that they use their resources to support their respective soldiers then collect the funds from AU later.

Dr Muia was yesterday forced to request the National Assembly’s Public Accounts Committee (PAC) chaired by Ugunja MP Opiyo Wandayi, for more time to “dig deeper” to respond to members’ queries on the discrepancies.

‘Security issue’

Mr Wandayi and committee members Aden Duale (Garissa Township), Joseph Ngugi (Gatanga), Dr Wilberforce Oundo (Funyula), Peter Masara (Suna West) and Dr Eseli Simiyu (Tongaren), demanded that Dr Muia comes clean on the issue after he declined to respond saying it “is a security issue.”

“Why the discrepancy between the audit report and the former Treasury CS letter?” Mr Wandayi posed.

“You mean there is nobody in the country that has got visibility over the expenditure other than the Department of Defense (DoD)? Who determines what is to be paid?” Mr Wandayi asked. Amisom is largely financed by European Union (EU).

Mr Duale warned that failure to fully account for the money may make the EU withdraw its funding just like the US Agency for International Development (USAid) did with the Kenya Medical Supplies Authority (Kemsa).

“This is the same story of Kemsa. USAid withdrew its funding to save their taxpayers’ money from being eaten. I mean, these are the kind of things that make our country look bad in the eyes of the international community,” Mr Duale said yesterday.

Dr Muia, however, told the committee that DoD works with “our trusted budget officer” seconded by the National Treasury.

“It is a one line defense budget and we trust that our trusted officer is doing a good job,” Dr Muia, who declined to name the “trusted officer” and the period he has been seconded to DoD, told the committee.

“This trusted officer you are telling us needs to be supervised. He is not an angel,” said Mr Ngugi.

Amisom grants

It, however, emerged that the unnamed officer has been at the DoD for more than 10 years. Dr Muia admitted it was not normal.

“We transfer officers after three years. We request that we be given more time to dig deeper into this matter,” said the PS appointed in July 2019, to replace Dr Kamau Thugge at the National Treasury.

Mr Rotich and Dr Thugge were fired last year.

In the 2018 letter, Mr Rotich, in accordance with Article 209 of the Constitution and the Public Finance Management Act, designated Mr Saitoti, the Defense PS, as the receiver manager of the Amisom grants.

“As a receiver of revenue, you are accountable to the CS, National Treasury for collection of revenue for which you have been designated to receive and which shall be separately accounted for,” Mr Rotich wrote in the letter.

The letter further directed Mr Saitoti to comply and familiarise himself with the relevant laws and circulars issued by the National Treasury.

Mr Saitoti was required to submit an annual revenue collection plan in the system “as accounting and reporting will be done in the IFMIS.”

The law mandates the receiver of revenue ensures that it is accounted for weekly and a statement of revenue collected and remitted is provided to the National Treasury and the Commission on Revenue Allocation on or before the 10th day of the subsequent month.

The other Amisom TCC include Burundi, Djibouti, Ethiopia and Uganda.

The Nation