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Another scam looms as Sh10b for the hungry ‘goes missing’

By Mercy Mwai
Monday, October 7th, 2019
Turkana is one of the hardest hit regions by drought. Photo/PD/FILE
In summary

The government is staring at a new mega scandal after it emerged that Sh10.4 billion meant to feed the hungry cannot be accounted for.

In a report tabled in the National Assembly last week, the office of the Auditor General said the National Drought Management Authority (NDMA) failed to operate and maintain the fund in line with the provisions of the National Drought Act 2016.

The report shows that the cash was spent under various categories, but concerns have arisen over how the list of beneficiaries was arrived at as there are no documents provided to show how they were identified and paid. 

Domestic travel 

The report for the financial year 2017/18 comes even as the authority is on the spot for spending Sh5 million in domestic travel expenses.

“No accounting records have been maintained in respect to the fund. The management is in breach of the law with regards to the operation and management of the fund,” the report reads in part.

Of the amount in question, Sh5 billion was received under the hunger and safety net programme in the 2016/17 financial year. Sh2.74 billion of it was public contribution under the Kenya for Kenyans campaign and Sh2.5 billion as conditional grant.

The Auditor General said although the expenditures are based on the requisitions made to fund various activities, documentation in support of the expenses had not been availed for audit verification.

“Further, the hunger and safety net programme GOK and donor programme expenditure of Sh5,049,328,332 that comprised of various payments to beneficiaries did not have documentation to support the basis the beneficiaries were identified,” the report added.

It also emerged that another Sh2 billion given for National Drought Emergencies Fund (NDEF) in the 2016/17 financial year and which was supposed to independently be managed and operated by the Authority’s Chief executive is also being queried as there are no statements prepared and submitted for audit for the two years the authority held the money.

Auditor general said despite the money increasing by Sh51.6 million because of interest, no documentation in support of this increase had been provided for audit review.

“In consequence, the accountability of the fund of Sh2 billion together with the interest income on the amount could not be ascertained as at June 30, 2018,” the report said.

Apart from the drought cash, the Auditor General also raised a red flag over the composition board committees of NDMA. This is after it emerged that two of the three members of the board’s audit committee are also part of the four-member Finance committee. 

The AG said this makes it impossible for the Audit committee to effectively check the actions and decisions of the Finance team.

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