Security agencies spent a staggering Sh8 billion, almost a billion more than what the 47 counties got combined for fighting Covid 19 within the first three months after the first case of coronavirus was reported in Kenya.
A report by the Auditor General has shown that although health is a devolved function, counties got only Sh7.2 billion out of the Sh214,908,853,825 that the government borrowed between March 13 when the first case of Covid-19 was reported in the country to July 31 last year.
The Sh8 billion spent by security agencies is not part of the Sh214 billion that was borrowed but is part of Sh58 billion that was raised through a supplementary budget.
It is expected that the amount of money spent by the national government will go higher once a comprehensive audit is issued before the end of this month as demanded by the International Monetary Fund (IMF).
The Covid-19 Emergency Fund Board is also in trouble for opening an account with Absa Kenya Bank instead of the Treasury as required by law.
“However, it was established that the current board as constituted is not backed by any law or Act of Parliament or Public Finance Management (Covid-19) Emergency Response Fund Regulations 2020, which is essential in the operationalisation of any Public Fund,” said the Auditor-General in a special audit on how counties spent Covid 19 funds.
The Auditor-General said there was no evidence provided that the operation of the Absa bank account was established within the law contrary to Article 206(1) (a) of the Constitution of Kenya, 2010, section 24(4) of the Public Finance Management Act, 2012, and Public Finance Management (Covid-19) Emergency Response Fund Regulations, 2020.
“It was noted that the Covid-19 fund accounts were not centrally managed contrary to the provision of the Covid-19 Emergency Fund Regulations, 2020 part III. Some accounts were being managed by the National Treasury while the Absa account was being managed by an appointed board without an administrator,” the report says.
The national government is using the two bank accounts for the Covid-19 response funds.
Out of the kitty, 10 ministries, departments and agencies received the huge chunk of the Covid-19 funds totalling Sh58.2 billion, the Auditor General reveals.
World Bank Loan
The funds, which were received in the special deposits accounts held at the Central Bank of Kenya included a Sh113.1 billion World Bank Loan, a Sh350 million grant from Danish International Development Agency, Sh221 billion African Development Bank loan, Sh78.3 billion IMF loan and Sh638 million Europan Union loan.
Out of the mobilised funds, The National Intelligence Service (NIS), the spy agency, which is growingly becoming more powerful in the presidency of Uhuru Kenyatta, received Sh1.5 billion for contact tracing.
Health ministry received Sh22.4 billion, the State Department of Correction Services got Sh6.2 billion, State Department for Interior received Sh500 million, the Treasury Sh10 billion and the State Department for Youth Sh61 billion.
Sh400 million was allocated to the State Department for Devolution, Sh416 million to the State Department for Housing, Sh10 billion to the State Department for Social Protection and Sh544 million to the National Land Commission (NLC).
Interestingly, the Covid-19 funds allocated to the State Departments of Youth and NLC were for pending bills while the Sh416 million disbursed to the State Department for Housing was for the Kazi Mtaani project.
In February, a mini-budget the Treasury presented to Parliament for adoption showed that the Defence ministry was allocated an additional Sh3.19 billion and the NIS Sh4.5 billion in the first half of the current financial year without the approval of Parliament.