Economy

Taxpayers spent Sh260m on Kibaki’s State funeral

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Deceased Former President Mwai Kibaki. FILE PHOTO | NMG

Taxpayers spent Sh260 million to finance the State funeral for former President Mwai Kibaki who died in April aged 90.

The Treasury’s second supplementary budget estimate tabled in Parliament on Tuesday evening revealed that Sh260 million was released on April 25 to cater for the unforeseen expenditure following the death of Kenya’s third president.

Mr Kibaki died on April 22 at 90 and was buried on April 30 in his ancestral Othaya home where he was accorded a state burial with military honours.

The Treasury invoked Article 223 of the Constitution that allows the State to spend money not approved by Parliament and seek approval of lawmakers within two months of expenditure.

“Funds were granted to cater for the State burial of the third President of the Republic of Kenya,” Ukur Yatani, the Treasury Cabinet Secretary, said in the new mini-budget documents.

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The burial money was released through the State Department for Interior and Citizen Services.

The Treasury is now asking Parliament to approve the expenditure of Sh260 million, which was withdrawn from the Consolidated Fund Services to cater for the emergency. A breakdown of the expenditure was not provided.

The expenses for the funeral expenses of President Daniel arap Moi who died on February 4, 2020, were also not revealed.

Mr Kibaki’s election in 2002 ended 40 years of one-party rule since independence when Mr Moi retired. He served for two terms to 2013.

He is credited with reviving Kenya’s then-ailing economy, but his tenure was marred by violence that killed more than 1,200 Kenyans following his disputed re-election in December 2007.

He also struggled to tackle widespread corruption as Kenya’s third president

Before their deaths, Mr Moi and Mr Kibaki received juicy retirement benefits, including a fleet of luxury cars, a fully furnished office and about 40 workers.

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Mr Kibaki received an annual pension of Sh34.2 million or Sh2.85 million monthly — which is equivalent to the salary and benefits of top chief executives of State-owned firms.

Running Mr Moi’s and Mr Kibaki’s offices cost taxpayers Sh243 million in the year to June 2020, with compensation to their staff, excluding those seconded from the government, taking Sh126 million.

Retirement benefits for former presidents have come under sharp focus, especially in the past couple of years when allocations increased by large margins, even as the government insisted it had put in place austerity measures to deal with a burgeoning recurrent expenditure, including the wage bill.

In 2015, a High Court judge stopped the government from paying allowances worth millions of shillings to Mr Kibaki and Mr Moi after finding that they were an unnecessary expense.

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The Attorney-General appealed the decision, allowing the two to continue enjoying their retirement emoluments.

Sections of the law that the court nullified entitled Mr Kibaki and Mr Moi to a Sh300,000 house allowance per month, fuel (Sh200,000), entertainment (Sh200,000) and utilities (Sh300,000).

The law also entitled them to two personal assistants, four secretaries, four messengers, four drivers and bodyguards, pushing the office and home workers to 34 under the scheme funded from public coffers. They were also entitled to four cars that were to be replaced every four years.

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