Senate asks new Auditor-General to probe use of Covid-19 billions

Newly appointed Auditor General Nancy Gathungu flanked by Chief Registrar of the Judiciary Anne Amadi. File | Nation Media Group

What you need to know:

  • The Senate Ad Hoc committee on Covid-19 made the request amid claims that billions allocated to deal with the pandemic may have been diverted.

A Parliamentary committee has now requested Auditor-General Nancy Gathungu to undertake a special audit into the expenditure of billions of shillings allocated to the national and county governments for the Covid-19 pandemic interventions. 

The Senate Ad Hoc committee on Covid-19 made the request amid claims that funds allocated to deal with the pandemic may have been diverted to other uses not related to the disease, misapplied or misappropriated. 

The committee chaired by nominated Senator Sylvia Kasanga also wants Controller of Budget (CoB) Dr Margaret Nyakang’o to furnish it with a special budget review implementation report on the utilisation of funds by the 47 devolved units towards the pandemic interventions. 

In two separate letters to Ms Gathungu and Dr Nyakang’o, Senate Clerk Jeremiah Nyegenye, on behalf of the committee, noted that the special audit should cover the period between March 13 and July 31, 2020. 

“The Committee therefore requests that you undertake the special audit and submit an independent report,” Mr Nyegenye says, adding that the report should be submitted by email on or before September 4, 2020. 

The report from the Controller of Budget is required by August 21. 

The first Covid-19 case in Kenya was reported on March 13, with the numbers surging to near the 24,000 mark as at yesterday. Fatalities are at 391 while the number of those who have recovered is nearing 10,000. 

The special audit as requested by the Senate comes as the Finance and National Planning Committee of the National Assembly prepares to summon top officials from the Ministry of Health over the expenditure of Covid-19 billions advanced by various development partners around the world.

Other senior officials from State agencies under the ministry are also lined up for grilling.

According to Mr Nyegenye, the audit should review and establish whether the counties had approved work plans, procurement, and training plans in place specific to the pandemic before the funds were disbursed. 

Ms Gathungu is also required to review and establish the total amount of money received by the counties, as well as the bank accounts into which the funds were banked.

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