The Foreign Affairs ministry has revealed the existence of a secret multi-million shilling account for President Uhuru Kenyatta and his deputy, William Ruto, to influence opinion in diplomatic circles.
Foreign Affairs Cabinet secretary (CS) Amina Mohamed disclosed the existence of the confidential account when she appeared before the National Assembly’s Defence and Foreign Affairs committee to defend the ministry’s budget for the year starting July.
She lobbied the committee to have the Sh200 million account that was removed from the current budget by mistake reinstated.
“This funding was inadvertently removed from the ministry’s vote in the 2017/17 financial year budget and should be reinstated with a budget of Sh200 million,” said Ms Mohamed.
“The President, the Deputy President, the First Lady, the Cabinet Secretary, and the Principal Secretary are occasionally required to incur confidential expenditure funded by the ministry with a view to softly influencing opinion/decision or support towards Kenyan interest in their diplomatic undertakings.”
She did not offer details on the nature of the confidential expenditure, which has been kept out of public’s scrutiny.
Kenya recently lost its bid to have Ms Mohamed elected as chair of the African Union Commission despite spirited shuttle diplomacy led by Mr Kenyatta and Mr Ruto to lobby African Heads of State.
A Cabinet sub-committee, led by Education secretary Fred Matiang’i, toured at least 51 countries in Africa looking for votes for the Kenyan candidate.
Dr Matiang’i declined to disclose the specific amount that his team had used for the mission, telling reporters that his team has used a ‘‘very low’’ budget.
News of the confidential account looks set to trigger memories of a similar account operated on the watch of former Internal Security PS Mutea Iringo.
The Public Accounts Committee recommended that Mr Iringo and other accounting officers, who presided over the irregular withdrawal of large amounts of money from the ministry’s accounts at the Central Bank in 2013, be investigated and that they be made to pay for the confidential expense.
The confidential security expenditure was Sh2.8 billion. The committee noted that to circumvent an instruction by the Treasury restricting withdrawals from ministry accounts to Sh700,000 a week, Mr Iringo presided over an account at the National Bank from which up to Sh190 million was withdrawn in a day.
When he met the committee, Mr Iringo said the Sh2.8 billion was for the confidential expenditure by the National Intelligence Service, the Directorate of Criminal Investigations, the General Service Unit and the police.