To­biko re­jects ap­pli­ca­tion by anti-graft com­mis­sion to close case on fund mis­use al­le­ga­tions.

Daily Nation (Kenya) - - SUNDAY REVIEW - BY KIPCHUMBA SOME­tion­

It seems cus­tomised to ir­reg­u­larly fa­cil­i­tate un­lim­ited cash with­drawals beyond the set lim­its. The Sh2.9 bil­lion ex­pen­di­ture was opaque and smacks of loss and wastage,” PAC re­port

The Di­rec­tor of Public Pros­e­cu­tions (DPP) Ke­ri­ako To­biko has op­posed a rec­om­men­da­tion to close a case in which for­mer In­te­rior Prin­ci­pal Sec­re­tary Mutea Iringo and Nyan­darua Gover­nor Fran­cis Kimemia are ac­cused of mis­ap­pro­pri­at­ing more than Sh2.9 bil­lion.

In May this year, the Ethics and Anti-cor­rup­tion Com­mis­sion (EACC) rec­om­mended to the DPP to close the case, say­ing there was no ev­i­dence that the money was em­bez­zled. How­ever, on July 3, Mr To­biko di­rected that fur­ther in­ves­ti­ga­tions be con­ducted, ac­cord­ing to EACC’S quar­terly re­port which was pub­lished in Fri­day’s Kenya Gazette.

The case arose from rec­om­men­da­tions by Par­lia­ment’s Public Ac­counts Com­mit­tee (PAC) in 2014 that Mr Iringo and Mr Kimemia, as the ac­count­ing of­fi­cers in the Of­fice of the Pres­i­dent, be in­ves­ti­gated for the loss of the funds dur­ing the 2012/2013 fi­nan­cial year. Mr Kimemia was the Head of Public Ser­vice at the time.

The money was part of “con­fi­den­tial” ex­pen­di­ture in the min­istry, a vote that runs into bil­lions of shillings each year and which can be utilised in a va­ri­ety of ways at the dis­cre­tion of the In­te­rior PS, such as mount­ing emer­gency po­lice op­er­a­tions and buy­ing in­tel­li­gence.

For long, this money has been the sub­ject of public de­bate with claims per­sist­ing that it is of­ten di­verted to per­sonal ac­counts of those in charge of it. “The ac­count­ing of­fi­cer (Min­istry of In­ter­nal Se­cu­rity) was found to have ad­hered to the above (Public Fi­nance Man­age­ment Reg­u­la­tions),” said EACC in their fi­nal re­port into the case.

The ex­plo­sive PAC re­port of De­cem­ber 2014 on govern­ment spend­ing for the fi­nan­cial year re­vealed that au­di­tors un­earthed a se­cret ac­count at Na­tional Bank where Sh2.8 bil­lion was wired and spent on items marked as ‘con­fi­den­tial’.

The NBK fund was masked as a gen­eral ac­count and was used to with­draw huge sums of money whose ex­pen­di­ture was not doc­u­mented ahead of the 2013 Gen­eral Election, the PAC re­port said.

“It seems cus­tomised to ir­reg­u­larly fa­cil­i­tate un­lim­ited cash with­drawals beyond the set lim­its,” the com­mit­tee said and con­cluded that the Sh2.9 bil­lion ex­pen­di­ture “was so opaque and smacks of loss, wastage, mis­ap­pli­ca­tion and pil­fer­age”.

The PAC, which was chaired by Bu­dalang’i MP Ababu Namwamba (be­low), rec­om­mended that Mr Iringo and Mr Kimemia be held re­spon­si­ble for pre­sid­ing over the scan­dal.

Both Mr Kimemia and Mr Iringo were the ac­count­ing of­fi­cers in the Of­fice of the Pres­i­dent at the time. “To cir­cum­vent the es­tab­lished reg­u­la­tions, the min­istry op­er­ates an ac­count at Na­tional Bank of Kenya that is par­al­lel to the reg­u­lar ac­count at the Cen­tral Bank of Kenya,” said the PAC re­port.

The In­ter­nal Se­cu­rity min­istry con­trols a large bud­get run­ning into bil­lions of shillings and is in charge of the po­lice ser­vice, Di­rec­torate of Crim­i­nal In­ves­ti­ga­tions, Im­mi­gra­tion, Govern­ment Printer as well as the Na­tional Au­thor­ity for Cam­paign against Al­co­hol and Drug Abuse.

Mr Iringo was ap­pointed the Prin­ci­pal Sec­re­tary in the min­istry of In­te­rior in June 2013 by Pres­i­dent Uhuru Keny­atta, but was moved to the De­fence min­istry in the same ca­pac­ity in Au­gust 2014.

He was even­tu­ally sacked along­side five Cabi­net Sec­re­taries in March 2015 who were named in an EACC dossier on se­nior govern­ment of­fi­cials who were be­ing in­ves­ti­gated for cor­rup­tion.

Mr Kimemia was sacked af­ter he was men­tioned in the EACC dossier. He won the Nyan­darua gu­ber­na­to­rial seat this year.

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