Kenya auditor uncovers massive govt misspending

2015-07-29 12:31


Multimedia   ·   User Galleries   ·   News in Pictures Send us your pictures  ·  Send us your stories

Nairobi - Only 1% of Kenyan government spending can be properly accounted for, according to a report by the country's auditor-general released just days after US President Barack Obama warned corruption was holding the country back.

Auditor-General Edward Ouko's annual report, presented to parliament on Tuesday, said that just 1.2% of Kenya's one trillion shilling (€8.9bn) budget for 2013-14 "was incurred lawfully and in an effective way".

The 361-page report is a litany of mismanagement, incompetence, wastage, misspending and possible corruption on a huge scale.

Ouko found that 60% of government spending - roughly 600 billion shillings (€5.3bn) - "had issues" while he "was unable to confirm" whether a further 390 billion shillings (€3.5bn) "was incurred effectively and lawfully".

The report was published two days after Obama left Kenya where he had addressed "the cancer of corruption", calling endemic graft "the single biggest impediment to Kenya growing even faster".

"Too often, here in Kenya corruption is tolerated because that's how things have always been done. People just think that that is sort of the normal state of affairs," said Obama.

The auditor-general's report exposes the everyday nature of malpractice and possible corruption in Kenya's government.

The ministry of health and ministry of transport and infrastructure were among 17 government departments singled out for failing to provide documents to support spending totalling 67 billion shillings (€600m).

"These public funds may not have been utilised lawfully and in an effective manner," said Ouko.

Former transport minister Michael Kamau, was among four ministers suspended in March, and has been charged with abuse of office.

Ten government departments - including the ministry of agriculture and the judiciary - failed to pay bills totalling 17 billion shillings (€147m).

Railway fiddle?

Kenya's police - regularly ranked among the most corrupt institutions in East Africa - spent 31 million shillings (€274 000) on rent for offices that were left empty. In some police stations officers were accused of stealing cash bails, sometimes using fake accounting books to conceal the theft.

Kenya, which is placed 145th out of 174 on Transparency International's annual corruption index, has long been blighted by graft.

It became a byword for corruption in the 1990s and 2000s with multi-billion dollar fiddles including Goldenberg, which saw the government overpay gold subsidies, and the Anglo-Leasing government procurement scandal.

Graft allegations have dogged a deal to build a new 485km standard gauge railway that is currently under construction linking the port of Mombasa with the capital Nairobi.

The Chinese-built single-track railway line with diesel rolling stock, is costing $5.6m per km compared to the $4.8m per km being paid by neighbouring Ethiopia for a new dual-track, electrified railway. A parliamentary committee has called for the cancellation of the deal, amid suspicions of corruption.

In Kenya public office is often seen as a route to personal enrichment, as Obama noted while standing alongside President Uhuru Kenyatta at a news conference in Nairobi on Saturday.

"People aren't stupid," the US president said.

"If they see an elected official and they know that their salary is there, and suddenly they're driving through town in a very big car, and they see their cousin driving through town with a very big car, and they're suddenly building a new house, and all that doesn't seem to match up with their salary, they don't have to be a forensic accountant to know what's going on," he said.

Kenya's presidency, however, was among just five government ministries, departments and agencies in which no mismanagement was identified.

Read more on:    uhuru kenyatta  |  barack obama  |  kenya  |  east africa

Join the conversation! encourages commentary submitted via MyNews24. Contributions of 200 words or more will be considered for publication.

We reserve editorial discretion to decide what will be published.
Read our comments policy for guidelines on contributions. publishes all comments posted on articles provided that they adhere to our Comments Policy. Should you wish to report a comment for editorial review, please do so by clicking the 'Report Comment' button to the right of each comment.

Comment on this story
Comments have been closed for this article.

Inside News24


Book flights

Compare, Book, Fly

Traffic Alerts
There are new stories on the homepage. Click here to see them.


Create Profile

Creating your profile will enable you to submit photos and stories to get published on News24.

Please provide a username for your profile page:

This username must be unique, cannot be edited and will be used in the URL to your profile page across the entire network.


Location Settings

News24 allows you to edit the display of certain components based on a location. If you wish to personalise the page based on your preferences, please select a location for each component and click "Submit" in order for the changes to take affect.

Facebook Sign-In

Hi News addict,

Join the News24 Community to be involved in breaking the news.

Log in with Facebook to comment and personalise news, weather and listings.