Auditor-General Edward Ouko has been asked to fast track the forensic audit into the disappearance at the port of Mombasa of containers with goods worth Sh2.7 billion destined for Uganda and Rwanda.
The National Assembly’s Public Investments Committee (PIC) Wednesday turned down Mr Ouko’s request that his officers be allowed to continue with the special audit till December 11.
Mvita MP Abdulswamad Nassir, who chairs the committee, said the matter needed to be concluded urgently because Ugandan authorities have raised it with their Kenyan counterparts.
“We know that Uganda and Rwanda have recently claimed more than Sh6 billion from the Kenyan government for the lost cargo,” Mr Nassir told the auditors who appeared before the committee to present a status report on the investigations.
PIC had in May directed Mr Ouko for a special audit into the 2015 disappearance of containers from the Kenya Ports Authority premises.
The MPs took the decision after the Kenya Revenue Authority (KRA) submitted to the committee data on the containers that were significantly different from what KPA and the Auditor-General had provided.
Mr Ouko had in May told the PIC that the number of containers cleared out of the port since 2015 had risen to 4,202, including 1,052 twenty-foot and 792 forty-foot total equivalent units destined for Uganda.
The KRA had issued a demand notice to KPA asking the port authorities to account for 1,844 containers whose whereabouts could not be explained, but a Central Co-ordination Unit task force report on long stay cargo at the port of Mombasa put the figure at 80 containers.
John Njiraini, the KRA commissioner-general, told the PIC that the Central Co-ordination Unit comprising KRA, KPA, Kenya Maritime Authority, Kenya Shipping Agents Association, Inter-government Standing Committee on Shipping, Kenya International Freight Forwarders & Warehousing Association, Container Freight Stations Associations and Shippers Council of Eastern Africa officers was put together to address Uganda businessmen's complaint that Kenya had stolen their containers.
“Upon completion of the exercise, it was found that no Ugandan container was lost at the Port of Mombasa. Only 81 containers were found to have overstayed at the port on or before November 30, 2015,” Mr Njiraini said when he appeared before the PIC in May.
Scope of work
On Wednesday, Sammy Kimungunyi, the manager in charge of specialised audit at the Kenya National Audit Office, told the committee that the scope of works requires more time as the auditors need to track containers from the KPA to all border points, including the other side of Uganda and Rwanda.
“The field work is expected to end by December 11, 2018 based on the need to assess internal control systems at KPA and KRA. KPA has an automated system that will require us to deploy specialised IT staff to audit it,” he said.