Fresh Covid funds audit to be out next month – Gathungu

Gathungu also doing an audit on the country’s debt which has hit Sh8.4 trillion.

In Summary

•The auditor has given his officers up to the end of this month, 12 days from today, to have finalised scrutiny at both the national and county government levels.

•A team of 250 officers are spread across the country doing the audits simultaneously.

Auditor General Nancy Gathungu during a session in Parliament/
AUDITOR GENERAL: Auditor General Nancy Gathungu during a session in Parliament/

Kenyans will next month know how exactly Covid-19 funds were spent, Auditor-General Nancy Gathungu has said, amid speculations over the use of donor fund and credit extended to the government.

The auditor has given her officers up to the end of this month, 12 days from today, to finalise scrutiny at both the national and county government levels.

“I have a team of about 250 allover the country doing the audits simultaneously. I have given them up to the end of this month to finalise and then we review the report. By mid-June, I should issue that report,” Gathungu told journalists in Nairobi on Wednesday.

She said the focus is on to the vaccine roll-out where most of the expenditure was channelled.

The fresh audit was called by the International Monetary Fund (IMF) after the exposure of alleged graft at the Kenya Medical Suppliers Agency (Kemsa).

This includes a report that indicated about Sh17 billion worth of Covid related stocks was unaccounted for.

In April last year, IMF approved Sh225 billion loan for Kenya which the National Treasury had then said would be partly used to support Covid-19 responses, and address urgent need to reduce debt vulnerabilities.

The financing which was offered in tranches was under the Extended Credit Facility (ECF) and the Extended Fund Facility (EFF).

IMF started supporting the country in March 2020 when the pandemic struck, with immunisation and budgetary support to cushion the economy from the effect of the pandemic, as the main areas of channeling the funds.

The institution has also been pushing to have the country list beneficial ownership information for successful bidders in government tenders, which Kenya has agreed to.

In the end-of-mission press statement issued last month, the international lender said this will be a step in the country's effort to combat rampant corruption.

Kenya is moving forward on its governance and anti-corruption agenda. Revised documents for government tenders, introduced this month will enable the publication of beneficial owners for successful bidders, which will be a requirement going forward,' Mission head to Kenya Mary Goodman said.

Publishing the names and the fresh audit on the use of Covid are part of conditions by IMF for ongoing lending to Kenya.

It is one of the IMF conditionalities that the Office of the Auditor General gives that report ( fresh Covid fund audit) for support of the country,” Gathungu said.

She had earlier raised queries on Covid-19 spending by Kemsa, poking holes on Kemsa’s inventory balance, including pharmaceutical and non-pharmaceutical stocks, which had validity and accuracy issues.

Meanwhile, Gathungu is also auditing the country’s debt which stood at Sh8.4 trillion, as of March, up from Sh8.2 trillion in December according to National Treasury data.

We are doing a public debt audit on some key areas and theses reports are at review levels, and I hope to issue them in due course,” she said.

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