Senators baffled by Waititu’s Sh58m budget for South Sudan peace initiative
Kiambu Governor Ferdinand Waititu on Thursday shocked Senators on Thursday when it emerged he spent over Sh1 billion last year on functions meant to be undertaken by the national government.
Among the activities funded by the Kiambu budget include supporting the peace program in South Sudan and the Free Primary Education (FPE).
Governor Waititu appeared before Senate’s Public Accounts and Investments committee to answer questions concerning the Auditor General’s (AG) queries on his county’s expenditures in the FY2017/18.
Senators quickly noticed that things were not adding up.
First, instead of submitting written responses to Auditor General’s queries on April 12 as directed, the governor came with the documents on Thursday, the day when he was scheduled to be scrutinized.
Secondly, in the documents he presented to the committee, Sh973 million was set aside for coordination of State House functions, of which Sh902m was paid.
A further Sh180 million was used to pay benefits to retired presidents Mwai Kibaki and Daniel Moi.
Sh591 million was set aside for state corporation advisory services, of which Sh573m was paid.
Sh58 million was paid to cater for South Sudan advisory services towards the peace program.
Sh804 million was set aside for the FPE program, of which Sh493m was paid.
The details shocked Senators, even as Governor Waititu denied knowledge of the expenditures contained in the documents he had presented before the committee.
“Mr Chairman maybe someone slipped these pages into documents in order to tarnish our image. What I have seen is new to me, we do not have a budget line for that,” Mr Waititu said, despite the fact that all the documents had been signed by county government officials.
“It is unacceptable. It appears this money was used for other personal things and to get away with it, they recorded as such,” Nominated Senator Isaac Mwaura replied.
The committee disagreed with the Auditor General’s opinion on the county’s usage of public funds and ordered for a fresh audit on all county government accounts.
The AG had given the county a ‘qualified opinion’, implying the county’s performance in use of public funds was fairly good.
“This can’t be a qualified opinion. This report form should be subjected to further scrutiny. This committee directs the Auditor General to undertake special audit on Kiambu, the FY2017/18 within 45 days,” committee chairman Senator Moses Kajwang said.
The committee also directed the Auditor General to table a report on audited accounts of ‘Kaa Sober’ program before Parliament and the Kiambu County Assembly
The senators refused to ask Governor Waititu questions until a fresh special audit is conducted and a report tabled before the committee.