By The Standard Team
May 26 3009
Finance Minister Uhuru Kenyatta was last night headed for more trouble following fresh claims that there were new discrepancies amounting to Sh10.7 billion in the revised Supplementary Budget approved by Parliament last week.
The claims have dealt a huge blow on Uhuru, who is also Deputy Prime Minister, and put Treasury on the spot again only two weeks after the minister was let off the hook for presenting budget figures with errors.
On Monday, Uhuru did not take calls while Finance Permanent Secretary Joseph Kinyua flatly declined to speak to The Standard. But Uhuru’s allies swiftly rallied to his rescue, with a majority turning the heat on the whistleblower — Mars Group — dismissing their revelation as a cheat publicity stunt.
Mars Group Kenya chief executive Mwalimu Mati said in memorandum to the National Assembly at the weekend that the Budget "remains as erroneous and full of discrepancies as its earlier version."
Mati said a closer look at the resubmitted Supplementary Estimates shows that even as the printed estimates error was corrected a "completely new set of errors and discrepancies has been introduced into the current Recurrent and Development Estimates."
But Finance PS Joseph Kinyua would not be drawn to speak about it.
"Oh no, I’m not talking to you…No! No! No" Kinyua said when The Standard reached him on the telephone.
According to Mars Group, the variances between the revisions contained in the first and the second versions of the Supplementary Budget cannot "be a computer error but a deliberate parlance in cooking up figures."
Last week Parliament passed the Supplementary Estimates, giving the Government a go ahead to spend the money.
Speaker Kenneth Marende directed that the motion for consideration of the of the estimates for the year 2008/2009 approved by the House in April 29 pursuant to Standing Order No.156 stood valid and that the House could proceed to transact the Supplementary Appropriation Bill 2009.
The Finance minister then presented to the House the two Supplementary Estimates — the Recurrent Expenditure 2008/2009 and the Supplementary Estimates Development Expenditure 2008/2009.
Uhuru then told Parliament that the earlier estimates had been withdrawn and that what he was presenting would supersede the estimates table in the House on April 22.
But Mati said recommendations made by the Joint Committee of the Budget Committee and the Finance Committee had not been followed.
The joint committee recommended an independent forensic audit, and the estimates withdrawn from the House and the Fiscal Management Bill be approved and enacted as a matter of urgency.
Mati says that in moving the "corrected" Supplementary Estimates, the minister implied that Clause 2 of the Bill provided for issuance from the Consolidated Fund of Sh26,251,311,790 and to appropriate the funds for various services and purposes during the financial year ending 30th January 2009.
"This cannot be true. If one adds up all the revisions of supply taken directly from schedule one of the Supplementary Appropriations, then the figure in Clause 2 ought to be Sh26,087,512,713," said Mati.
Another contested item is the aid to be applied in the recurrent expenditure of Sh4,628,325,694, whereas manual calculations of the vote-by-vote sub totals of expected appropriations in aid totaled Sh4,488,352,694. The difference is inflation on the expected income by Sh139,973,000.
Another grey area was the appropriation in aid of development expenditure worth Sh5.2 billion, whereas the manual calculation for the same was Sh6.06billion.
Mati, who raised the alarm in the first estimates that were tabled in the Parliament, said the minister made changes to the revised estimates without amending the Supplementary Appropriations Bill 2009, raising the prospect that Parliament had approved sums not detailed in any law, and creating a loophole for misappropriation of public funds.
The Sh10.7b errors are affecting 211 lines items from 36 ministries.
The Chairman of Parliamentary Budget Committee, Mr Martin Ogindo, said last night he is yet figure out any discrepancies in the Supplementary Budget although the committee was scrutinising the estimates.
"I need to appreciate the discrepancy first before I can comment, but it would be a tragedy if it there," Mr Ogindo told The Standard.
Turkana Central MP Ekwe Ethuro said he had no knowledge of the error but added that it would be shocking if indeed a discrepancy exists.
"When there was an error in the Supplementary Estimates last time, the minister assured us they (the minister and Treasury officials) would be more careful next time. I’ll therefore be surprised if this error exists," said Ethuro, who is also a member of the Budget committee.
He blamed such mistakes on failure to give Parliament capacity to scrutinise the Budget process.
The Parliamentary Investments Committee Chairman Mithika Linturi said he was not aware of the discrepancy, but added that if it was true then Uhuru should take the blame.
Siakago MP Lenny Kivuti discounted any possibility of an error in the estimates, and dismissed Mars Group as publicity seekers.
He said: "Even assuming there were printing errors again, it would be wrong to blame it on the minister. He does not write the figures."
Kamukunji MP Simon Mbugua said this was an attempt by some people to sabotage Uhuru.
COMMENTS FROM READERS:
1. On Tuesday May 26, 2009, 8:23 AM , marvin libale, Kenya wrote:
Uhuru must go! coz he is where his not supposed to be, even if he got his degree from abroad it does not mean that he can run the ministry. there are a lot of people who can work in that ministry well, Uhuru is INCOMPETENCE so let KIMUNYA come back we want somebody who is straight and competence.
2. On Tuesday May 26, 2009, 7:31 AM , Bobnabby, Kenya wrote:
"Kamukunji MP Simon Mbugua said this was an attempt by some people to sabotage Uhuru". There is nothing like sabotage in this case. Uhuru is just not an able person to handle public affairs. He is inept. History has it that Uhuru has never delivered satisfactorily in any docket he has handled. Finance ministry is just too big for Uhuru just as it would be for people like Mbugua.
3. On Tuesday May 26, 2009, 6:32 AM , Bradley Kisiab, Kenya wrote:
For Kivuti and Mbugua, the minister is already cooked and well done. So far, he has not shown competence. He is done, even if he stays in that position till then of parliament's term.
4. On Tuesday May 26, 2009, 4:50 AM , Meshack Maarufu, United States wrote:
Treasury's budget process is a fraud syndicate, benefiting a region as the rest of Kenya yawns with want. It is staffed, like a club by tribesmen who wont question resource-skewing tricks. Why even hawk-eyed Namwamba's are soft on errors? Complacency can been bought secretly. Bunge will not solve this problem. MPs don't care. They have their 1m+ monthly. So? Now a regional mob will defend him, see!
5. On Tuesday May 26, 2009, 4:28 AM , Sifu Msafiri, United States wrote:
I guess Kenyans haven't heard the last of the never ending saga of "typing errors". Unless Uhuru is removed from this key docket Kenyans can only expect the worst. This is part of a wider scheme to loot the Treasury in preparation for 2012. And don't expect any help from the MPs: they hardly pay attention to detail.
6. On Tuesday May 26, 2009, 4:11 AM , Patrick Juma, Kenya wrote:
We don't expect young MPs like Mbugua to give such blind support as leaders of this generation. The error MUST be fixed by Treasury. We are not worried about gaming with figures but most scared when our dreams to have food, education, water, stima and good road networks are vividly in vain. The figures refer to our taxes, the PUBLIC FUND.
7. On Tuesday May 26, 2009, 3:20 AM , Mlanguzi, Kenya wrote:
I am not surprised. Very strange things happen at the treasury and the other closely related departments within the ministry of finance. The funny thing about it is that a greater percentage of people working in these departments are from one ethnic community. This is a fact that one just needs to pay a visit there to ascertain. There is a lot of negligence, sluggishness and arrogance with the "I don't care. There is nothing you can do to me" attitude at the treasury. These fellows behave as if they own the place! A complete overhaul of the work force there is urgently needed for efficiency to be enhanced.
8. On Tuesday May 26, 2009, 2:39 AM , Joe Kimanthi Mutungi, Japan wrote:
Politicians who understand little or nothing at all about mathematics of budget preparations should shut their mouths . I think Kenyans should appreciate professional whistle blowers like the MARS group. Uhuru should check out thoroughly where the problem is, and if he can't handle the ministry or if he also doesn't understand balancing a few figures, just quit.
9. On Monday May 25, 2009, 23:41 PM , Ken Alila, United States wrote:
We should not cry foul. Let Uhuru nyakua na asikamatwe! That is is the fruit of leadership without people's mandate.
10. On Monday May 25, 2009, 22:45 PM , Ahmed abdullahi, United Kingdom wrote:
The finance should be very clear about what he is presenting to the kenyans citizens as this could cause a major backlash on his reputation and in his effort to potray himself as a capable legislator.
11. On Monday May 25, 2009, 21:57 PM , hg, Canada wrote:
Kenyans are represented by officials who can't type nor to the Math! What a joke!!
12. On Monday May 25, 2009, 21:42 PM , James Kamau, Kenya wrote:
Poor African countries do better than my country Kenya. They have better infrastructure such roads, electricity supply, water and the list can go on. I was shocked to see Kenya which has very active citizens still having no infrastructure to be proud of compare to these countries. Do these Kenyan leaders travel? Or they are busy corrupting our country? Why can't our leaders think before messing up the future of our children? If you think I am lying visit Lesotho or Swaziland. That is when you will hit tribalism and primitive mode of governance. Please Kenyans of good will, do you love a bright future of our children? Let us put pressure on these useless leaders. Let us think how to remove all these crowns who are cronies in every evil. Otherwise Kenya is going to the dogs!!
13. On Monday May 25, 2009, 21:21 PM , andrew, United States wrote:
Uhuru needs to do his homework. It does not make any sense for him to present a faulty budget to an already hurting economy unless he has something up his sleeves.
14. On Monday May 25, 2009, 19:22 PM , Alex Kiplangat, Kenya wrote:
Why should Hon Simon Mbugua be rushing to conclude that it is sabotage?The youthful MP is a disgrace to the youths of this country. Instead of pointing fingers to other people "saboteurs" he should be advising the Minister to sack the whole group at the Department of Budget and then resign from the Ministry.
Wednesday, May 27, 2009
By The Standard Team
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