The office of President Uhuru Kenyatta and his deputy, William Ruto, spent more than Sh2.7 billion over the past three years from a secret account plagued by irregular documentation, Auditor-General Edward Ouko has revealed.
The Presidency — which comprises the offices of Mr Kenyatta and Mr Ruto — spent Sh685.7 million in their first year in office that ended June 2014, Sh937.5 million (2015) and Sh1.1 billion (2016) from the confidential account.
While the expenditures were kept out of public’s scrutiny, the Presidency shared details with the auditors.
But Mr Ouko says the secret multimillion-shilling account was surrounded by weak controls, including a lack of documentation to support expenditure — making it difficult for the audit office to judge whether the spending was lawful and incurred for the intended purpose.
The chief government auditor revealed some goods bought via the confidential budget were not delivered, other expenditures lacked approval documents and spending was not captured in the government e-payments system labelled the Integrated Financial Management System (IFMIS).
It is a requirement for payments from national government and counties to be made through IFMIS to track expenditures and fraudulent dealings.
“Further, verification of the Integrated Financial Management System (IFMIS) shows that these payments were not posted in the IFMIS ledger, an indication that they could have been unexplained cash withdrawals,” Mr Ouko said in a qualified audit opinion of the financial statements of the Presidency for the year to June 2016.
A payment of Sh165.5 million to suppliers of motor vehicles was one of the items that could not be traced in the IFMIS ledger.
Mr Ouko also says no explanation was offered for Sh106 million spending without documents showing approval.
“In this regard, I am unable to confirm that the confidential expenditure incurred on motor vehicles and other payments or charge to General Suspense Account during the financial year under review was lawful and was value for money,” Mr Ouko said.
The auditor questioned Sh22,324,851 payments for goods meant for State Houses and Lodges that were not delivered.
In March, Foreign Affairs Cabinet secretary (CS) Amina Mohamed offered a rare peek of the secret account when she lobbied for reinstatement of Sh200 million in the secret account.
She argued the confidential account for Mr Kenyatta and Mr Ruto is critical for influencing opinion in diplomatic circles.