Treasury starts audit of Covid-19, locust billions

Hopper bands of desert locust infest a road next to Lokichar, Turkana County, Kenya on June 4, 2020. Luis Tato | Afp

What you need to know:

  • Ministries and agencies are expected to submit reports by Tuesday for scrutiny 

The Treasury has started to audit the spending of billions of shillings in taxpayers’ funds and loans from donors such as International Monetary Fund (IMF) meant for the fight against the coronavirus pandemic and the locust invasion.

Treasury Cabinet Secretary (CS) Ukur Yatani directed the ministries and State agencies involved in Covid-19 and locust invasion fight to submit reports on how they spent billions of shillings before Tuesday next week.

Mr Yatani added that the reports will then be submitted to the Controller of Budget and the IMF to measure prudence in the use of the cash.

This comes amid allegations of irregular procurements and purchase of items like face masks and other protective gears at inflated costs.

The Treasury said Sh40.3 billion had been spent by June in the fight against the coronavirus disease.

The funds have been used to purchase protective gear for health workers, hire more medics, upgrade health centres, buy food and cash transfers for vulnerable persons hit hardest by the pandemic.

Aerial spraying

Multinational lenders like IMF, World Bank and the African Development Bank have also injected billions of shillings to cushion the economy from the Covid-19 shocks.

Desert locusts invaded the country in December last year with the government allocating Sh30.3 million of taxpayer’s funds in addition to donor aid to purchase pesticides and finance aerial spraying.

Financial accountability

"Following catastrophic flooding that took place towards end of year 2019, desert locust infestation and the ongoing Covid-19 pandemic, the first submission should cover all the four quarters of the financial year 2019/20," Mr Yatani said in the circular.

"The data will facilitate Treasury and office of Controller of Budget in production of regular budget implementation reports… including public expenditure and financial accountability reports."

Parliament in May flagged the Ministry of Health for millions of shillings spent in buying tea and snacks and inflated amounts in leasing ambulances in the fight against Covid-19. 

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