Economy

MPs take Culture PS to task for failing to account for Sh48m artistes’ Covid cash

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MPs during a session at Parliament chambers. PHOTO | FILE

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Summary

  • The State Department for Culture cannot account for Sh48 million spent to cushion artists and musicians at the height of the Covid-19 pandemic.
  • The department has until the close of business today to provide full details showing the expenditure and the list of beneficiaries to Parliament.

The State Department for Culture cannot account for Sh48 million spent to cushion artists and musicians at the height of the Covid-19 pandemic.

The department has until the close of business today to provide full details showing the expenditure and the list of beneficiaries to Parliament.

The National Assembly’s Public Accounts Committee (PAC) took PS Joseptha Mukobe to task to prove whether the Sh48 million landed into the accounts of the targeted musicians.

“We are giving you up to the close of business tomorrow Wednesday, June 28, 2021, to table evidence showing the names, details and accounts of the beneficiaries,” Aden Duale, who temporarily chaired the committee, said Tuesday.

President Uhuru Kenyatta in April 2020 announced a Sh100 million fund to cushion artistes, actors and musicians from the effects of the pandemic and continue entertaining the public through TV, radio and the internet.

“Starting this month, all our local artistes will be earning a total of Sh200 million per month that will be paid to musicians through the system and other platforms that we have developed. This shall translate this year to over Sh2 billion going into the pockets of our young artistes and young Kenyans,” said President Kenyatta in a televised address.

Tuesday, MPs took Ms Mukobe to task to provide evidence that the artistes benefited from the State subsidy.

“We want to know how this money was used. Where is the list of beneficiaries? I was the Leader of the Majority when the President announced this package that was meant to cushion our artistes. We want to know if the ministry bureaucrats pocketed the cash. We want responses by close of business tomorrow or we retreat and write our report,” said Mr Duale.

Kasipul Kabondo MP Eve Obara hit out at Ms Mukobe for tending casual responses to the committee. “Your responses to this committee are wanting. You are the PS and how did you pay our young musicians with the millions you received?” Dr Obara asked.

Ms Mukobe said the Sh48 million was transmitted to three State departments, which paid the artistes at the height of the pandemic.

She asked for more time to table what she called voluminous payment documents from the State Department of Culture, the Kenya Film Classification Board and the Kenya Museums.