GRAFT WAR

PAC wants bigwigs probed over billions

The committee tabled its report for the 2015-16 financial year

In Summary

• Parliament wants the anti-graft agency and the DCI to probe billions unaccounted for in government ministries.

• Principal Secretaries are the accounting officers.

Auditor General Edward Ouko
Auditor General Edward Ouko
Image: FILE

A powerful parliamentary watchdog panel wants the anti-graft agency and the Directorate of Criminal Investigations to probe billions of shillings uncounted for in government ministries.

The report tabled in Parliament on Tuesday by the National Assembly Public Accounts Committee is pushing for accounting officers in the  ministries and departments involved to be held to account to “serve as a lesson to their colleagues.”

The PAC report is an examination of Auditor General Eduard Ouko's report on the financial statements for the national government for the 2015-16. 

Principal Secretaries are the accounting officers because they are the ones allowed, under the law, to incur expenditures on behalf of the state.

They could be in trouble if the House adopts the far-reaching report seen as key in tightening the noose on graft lords.

Those indicted have been blamed for illegal budget variations, incurring expenditures outside the budget and failing to produce crucial transaction documents for auditors.

For instance, the Opiyo Wanday-led PAC wants the accounting officers at the Education ministry probed over massive irregularities.

The committee wants the Ethics and Anti-Corruption Commission to investigate overpricing amounting to Sh 5.147 million for purchase of goods at the ministry under PS Belio Kipsang.

At the Ministry of Water and Irrigation, the committee has ordered the EACC to investigate Sh1.7 million paid as leave commutation to staff members who had already applied for leave and were paid leave allowance.

“If found culpable, the money should be recovered from the beneficiaries and in the event it cannot be recovered, the cash should be recovered from the person who occasioned it,” the committee says.

Top officials at the Ministry of Lands, Housing and Urban Development could be in trouble after the committee recommended the EACC probes over-payment amounting to Sh21.9 million.

The PAC wants the Ministry of Interior probed over the payment of Sh72.3 million extra for a twin-turbine engine VIP helicopter that was supposed to cost Sh2.2 billion.

The PAC committee wants the Auditor General to conduct a special audit of the helicopter deal.

The report also indicates a police helicopter crashed only four months after being bought and did not have insurance or a warranty.

However, no officer has been held responsible for these anomalies.

The powerful committee wants the DCI and EACC to investigate what it suspects was a clear case of falsification of records for brand-new police shoes at the stores.

When the auditors checked the situation on the ground, using 12 police divisions as a sample, records showed that they ordered 454 pairs of shoes and got 63 pairs. The records in Nairobi showed that 392 pairs were issued.

The Auditor General concluded that the records in Nairobi were falsified.

While 57 field units had asked for 12,852 pairs of shoes, they were only given 3,763 pairs, meaning there was a shortfall of 9,089 pairs.

“The DCI and EACC are directed to carry out an investigation into the distribution of 12,852 pairs of footwear to fifty-seven (57) police field units across the country with a view to establishing whether there was a loss of public money and initiating prosecution against persons found culpable,” the report says.

The committee also has invited the EACC and the DCI to investigate a Sh58 million emergency relief and refugee assistance programme in the State Department of

According to the report, the ministry paid Sh36.2 million for 5,000 bags of rice supplied by Unifresh Exotic Kenya Limited and BN Kotecha at a cost of Sh7,250 per 50kg bag.

The Ministry also wired Sh 21.9 million for 4,140 bags of rice supplied by Jambo Grocers and Pabari Distributors Limited at a cost of Sh 5,300 per 50kg bag.

The DCI and EACC are directed to carry out an investigation into the distribution of 12,852 pairs of footwear to fifty-seven (57) police field units across the country with a view to establishing whether there was a loss of public money and initiating prosecution against persons found culpable
Report

However, according to the framework contract, the firms were expected to supply a 50kg bag of rice for Sh 4,450.

The report questions the use of restricted tendering in the award of Sh316.9 million to construct accommodation facilities at Embakasi Garrison.

The report recommends that DCI and the EACC should, within three months after the adoption of this report, investigate the use of restricted tendering.

The committee has recommended that Auditor General Ouko should undertake a special audit of the controversial E-Citizen platform that detectives have previously said they are investigating.

The probe, PAC said, should focus on determining how much money has been collected through the platform since inception and how much revenue has been remitted to the government agencies using the platform.

PAC said an amount of Sh11,040,750 in respect of names’ search and reservation, registration of companies and registration of business names, had been collected through the E-Citizen platform by June 30, 2016.

The agency has been collecting revenue on behalf of the Company’s Registry for name search and reservation, registration of business names, registration of companies and registration of welfare societies on behalf of the office of the Attorney General

A total of Sh 204,882,390 had been collected by the Corporation during the year under review as reflected in the Posta Pay EFT system.

But out of this amount, only Sh66,199,200 had been remitted to the Office of the AG revenue account at the Central Bank as at June 30, 2016, leaving a balance of Sh138,683,190.

PAC also wants the withdrawal of Sh178 million from the account of the Kenyan Embassy in Moscow in 2016 investigated by the DCI.

At the time, ex-IEBC Commissioner Ambassador Paul Kurgat was the envoy.

At the Ministry of Labour and Social services, the panel wants top officials investigated for failure to provide crucial documents to justify Sh17.3 million spending.

The panel said that the ministry did not give convincing evidence of how the money was spent during the period under review.

Also under scrutiny is Sh6 million allegedly paid for rendering cleaning services, but without supporting vouchers.

The Ministry of Sports, Culture and Arts is also facing investigation over possible irregular transactions in which it irregularly reallocated Sh211.9 million under acquisition of assets.

“No explanation has been provided for the failure to seek approval of the National Treasury for the reallocations,” the report says.

The ministry, which has been struggling with huge pending bills, could not provide documents to support its bills of Sh56.3 million.

The same opaqueness was identified at the Ministry of Information and Communication Technology where expenditures amounting to Sh1.1 billion lack supporting documents.

The committee recommends that the Ministry should provide evidence of how the money was utilised within three months after the adoption of the report.

At the Ministry of Agriculture, the committee wants the Directorate of Criminal Investigations and EACC to investigate the payment of Sh 147.5 million made on account of interest on Post Import Facility.

The bill allegedly arose as facility interest from a 2013-14 contractual obligation that the ministry failed to honour despite obtaining letters of credit from a local bank.

At the Industrialisation ministry, the panel wants ex-PS Wilson Songa to be compelled to provide audit documents in respect to the Sh5.1 million consultancy for the Ease of Doing Business Improvement Programme.

The committee wants investigative agencies to probe the tender over financial irregularities relating to making payment of public money.

To this end, the committee is seeking comprehensive government confidential expenditures guidelines with a view to streamlining the process of approving, utilising and accounting for funds by staff.

The guidelines, the committee said, should be prepared within three months after Parliament adopts its report. This is seen as a move to control unbridled expenditures that are not disclosed.

The committee said the National Police Service Commission was “opaque" in their recruitment process by failing to advertise for vacancies when seeking both temporary and permanent staff.

The committee observed that the NPSC was instead relying on a data bank of applicants received in September 2013.

“Further, the Commission relies on other random applications received from job seekers,” the committee said.

The committee said it had noted irregularities in the award of tenders at the commission. It said one Jairus Ojango Omumu, who served as the accounting officer during the period under review, be held liable.

“The officer should also be held to account for using restricted tendering to provide a one-year contract extension for group life/accident covers to Disney Insurance Brokers Company at a cost of Sh1.3 million,” the report says.

The committee directed the Auditor General to conduct a forensic audit of  Sh241.4 million unexplained expenditures at the Judicial Service Commission.

The EACC should also investigate a former Principal of Pangani Girls High School and members of the board of management for incurring an expenditure of Sh2 million on a non-functional generator.

The committee also wants the ministry to ensure rent arrears amounting to Sh4.1 million are recovered from teachers at Nairobi School, Mang’u High, Jamhuri High, Alliance Boys, Dagoretti High and Kenya High.

“Failure to pay rent in time by teachers and other staff who are paid house allowance amounts to improper enrichment contrary to the provisions of Section of POE Act 2003,” the committee says.

Alliance High School is in trouble over Sh7.3 million paid to two consultancy firms owned by former students for  construction of student’s main hostel, wall and gate.