EXPOSED: Sh96m ‘confidential budget’ which was secretly allocated to Sonko
Details have emerged of an irregular multi-million confidential budget that has secretly been allocated to Nairobi Governor Mike Sonko.
The revelations arose during a County Assembly oversight committee sitting where it emerged that the Governor has been enjoying a Sh96 million ‘confidential expenditures’ annually since he came into office in 2017.
Appearing before the Legal and Justice committee, officers from the Governor’s office could not explain to the committee what the ‘confidential budget’ is meant for as it also emerged that the budget was never approved by the Assembly as part of the county’s financial plan.
The committee, led by its chairperson Jayendra Malde put to task Mr Dominic Odera – an administration officer at the Office of the Governor and County’s Fleet Manager, to account for the colossal sum as the officer could not avail any letter showing any approval for the budget.
Kilimani MCA Moses Ogeto, the committee’s vice chair, raised questions how the county boss came to enjoy the budget yet according to the law, a confidential budget is only allocated to a President subject to approval by the Interior Ministry.
Reached for comment, Governor Sonko defended the confidential budget saying that it was normal since he has many departments under his office.
“Having a confidential budget is normal. Running Nairobi is not a joke. There are so many things happening under my office,” said Sonko.
The office of the Governor and his deputy has five departments including Inspectorate, Legal Services, Disaster Management and Coordination, Investigative Services and Administrative.
The committee was grilling Sh805 million budget estimates for 2019/2020 financial year for the office of Governor and Deputy Governor.
Raising more eyebrows was a Sh490.6 million allocated for both offices yet the county has had no deputy governor since January, 2018 when Polycarp Igathe resigned from the position.
Nominated MCA Silvia Kihoro questioned how the budget has been spent despite Nairobi operating without a deputy governor for a whole financial year.
The committee agreed to scrap off the Sh96 million confidential budget, all funds which go to the office of the Deputy Governor since currently the office has no substantial holder and Sh20 million which had been set aside as training expenses.
It was also revealed that Governor Sonko has been moving in a convoy of 12 cars against a requirement of only five cars. This was after MCA Ogeto raised queries on the number of vehicles the Governor should officially be entitled to officially and whether the extra cars are captured in the budget.
This emerged after Mr Odera was put to task why they had allocated a whopping Sh180 million for fuels and lubricants for transport.
CONVOY OF CARS
He said that the additional cars are from other sectors under the office of the Governor, adding that even vehicles which are meant for use by the deputy governor are operational and under the City Hall boss’s use.
“The Governor, by law, is entitled to only five cars but some of the additional cars are drawn from other sectors. Since the Governor is the overall authority, the officers cannot restrict him and we have to fuel all the 12 vehicles plus those that escort him,” said Mr Odera.
However, the City Hall boss admitted to having a convoy but said that only two are government vehicles with the rest being his personal cars.
Governor Sonko claimed that he many enemies so he beefed up his security after a tanker made its way into his convoy in Athi River when he was a Senator.
“It is true I have a convoy but the only government cars I have are two. The rest are my cars which I fuel myself from my own pocket. Even before I became a governor I used to have a fleet of cars,” he said.
However, nominated MCA June Ndegwa dismissed the budget as exaggerated, saying that each department under the Governor’s office had also proposed a fuel budget.