BLOW FOR IRINGO AND KIMEMIA IN SH2.9 BILLION CASE
Tobiko rejects application by anti-graft commission to close case on fund misuse allegations.
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.