Push for spy agency to reveal use of mineral wealth billions


Mining and Petroleum Cabinet Secretary, John Munyes. PHOTO | MARTIN MUKANGU | NMG

Kenya’s spy agency has come under pressure from Parliament to account for billions of shillings allocated for a key national project that involved mapping of the country’s mineral wealth.

The parliamentary Departmental Committee on Defence and Foreign Relations wants the State to publish some of the findings of the multibillion shilling survey by the National Intelligence Service (NIS) that sought to map the country’s mineral deposits.

NIS has seen its budget increase nearly threefold in under a decade, but the spy agency does not disclose the use of its budgetary allocations or have performance indicators for tracking its expenses.

“The Committee observes that the ever-increasing NIS (budget) is partly as a result of its role in critical strategic national objectives being the geophysical survey,” noted the committee.

“The survey has been completed in some of the counties. The committee observes that it is now due that results of these surveys are seen and utilised by the counties to assess the viability of investment opportunities in regard to available resources.”

The NIS was in 2018 tapped to conduct the survey to map the country’s mineral deposits amid fears then that if foreigners conducted the study they could use the data for their own benefit.

The parliamentary Budget Committee earlier approved a Sh500 million budget for the spy agency to participate in the year-long airborne survey.

Kenya is through the study seeking to determine the quantity of its underground minerals. The State earlier said it would spend Sh3 billion on the first phase covering Migori, Homa Bay, Siaya, Kakamega, Busia and neighbouring counties.

Kenya has proven deposits of titanium, gold and coal.

The country is also understood to hold significant deposits of copper, niobium, manganese and rare earth minerals.

The nationwide aerial survey to map Kenya’s mineral deposits is tipped to act as a catalyst for foreign investment, but its findings have remained unpublished.

Parliament has put NIS in a spot at a time its annual budget has shot up again.

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