Parliament has summoned Treasury Secretary Henry Rotich over the lifestyle audit that has seen suspended heads of procurement and accounts in public service and parastatals continue to draw salaries without doing any work.
Parliamentary Finance and Planning Committee summoned Mr Rotich after the Chief Administrative Secretary Nelson Gachuhie revealed that only 552 officers had been cleared and reinstated to work. He also disclosed that the Treasury is paying full salaries to officers who had been vetted but are yet to be reinstated.
“We as the Treasury are feeling the pinch of the slow lifestyle audit process because we are paying salary to all officers who stepped aside but have not been cleared for reinstatement.
“We cannot reinstate them or stop their salaries. We will only stop their salaries once we are told that they cannot be reinstated back to the service. But we don’t have the total number of those who were suspended,” Mr Gachuhie said.
President Uhuru Kenyatta ordered a lifestyle audit of heads of accountants and procurement in June last year.
MPs want Mr Rotich to explain why the audit had not been concluded.
Mr Gachuhie infuriated MPs when he shifted questions to the presidency. He said the presidency has the answer as to why the officers had not been reinstated, retired or dismissed from service.
“Since the National Treasury was not directly involved in the exercise, I am not in a position to respond to parts (ii and iii) of the questions,” he told committee vice chairperson and Roysambu MP Waihenya Ndirangu.
Mr Rotich sent Mr Gachuhie to respond to questions filed by Nominated MP Godfrey Otsotsi.
He wanted the Treasury to provide an update on the status of the lifestyle audit of public officers who stepped aside to pave way for the exercise.
Mr Otsosti also sought to know the action that had been taken so far on officers whose lifestyle audit raises queries and whether there were plans to audit all State officers in line with the Leadership and Integrity Act.
In response, Mr Rotich told MPs that the presidency and the Multi-Agency Team (MAT) carried out the lifestyle audit of public officers.
“On October 15, 2018, the presidency wrote to the National Treasury vide their letter…advising that 461 officers were vetted and cleared hence the reinstatement to the service,” he said in a signed response read out by Mr Gachuhie.
The Treasury said it received another letter on October 22 from the presidency clearing 26 officers for reinstatement.
He said the last letter from the presidency to the Treasury was written on May 28, forwarding an additional list of 65 officers who were vetted and reinstated.
Mr Otsotsi, MPs Daniel Nanok, Samuel Atandi, Kuria Kimani and Jimmy Angwenyi took Mr Gachuhie to the task to explain why the Treasury had left its employees to be vetted by the presidency and the MAT.
Mr Otsotsi accused the Treasury and the presidency of conducting a sham lifestyle audit.
“You will think the whole exercise was one of those public gimmicks because the primary ministry responsible for the management of public funds was not involved,” Mr Otsotsi asked.
Mr Waihenya directed the Treasury to table a comprehensive report when Mr Rotich appears next Wednesday.