List of shame: Bungoma, Meru top in misuse of COVID-19 funds from WB
The report on utilization of COVID-19 funds has red flagged Bungoma County for misappropriating over Ksh. 20million meant for fighting the pandemic.
According to the auditor general, the money was not only illegally diverted from its core business but also cannot be accounted for.
Bungoma County received the funds under the Kenya Devolution Support program to combat COVID-19 and now says it reallocated the money for training.
However, the auditor general’s report revealed that clarification and documentation to establish how much, why, to what activities and the approvals for this reallocation was not provided.
A probe into the usage of the funds established that the money was spent on training without any clear supporting evidence.
The auditor general has faulted the county saying they did not provide required documents such as approved plans or details of trained personnel; signed attendance list; authority to pay participants for training or even approved conference and facilitators rates to support the utilization of funds.
Senate Speaker Kenneth Lusaka and Bungoma Senator Moses Wetangula have also called out the county bosses for the mismanagement of the COVID-19 funds.
Meru County, on the other hand, is said to have gone into the market blindly in the purchase of COVID-19 items.
Without conducting a market survey, the county spent over Ksh. 10million, flouting procurement laws.
Meru County has also been indicted for illegally splitting contracts to award various firms.
The county split the construction of Egoji Isolation Centre — with a contract worth over Ksh. 20million — to award seven different firms.
This was in violation of the Public Procurement and Disposal Act.
On April 6, 2021, Kenyans were up in arms over continued borrowing by the government.
This was two days after the International Monetary Fund (IMF) approved the disbursement of Ksh.257 billion to Kenya.
The funds were approved as a loan which the government says will be used to bridge the gap in the fight against COVID-19.
More than 120,000 Kenyans have since signed an online petition calling for a stop to the loans by IMF to the Kenyan Government.
To put this into context, according to the Daily Nation, between the period of March and November 2020, Kenya borrowed Ksh.971 billion in the war against COVID-19.
This means the country borrowed Ksh. 121billion every month in the 8-month period.
IMF recently approved a further Ksh. 257billion for the same course that then brings the debt levels to about Ksh.1.2 trillion within the year.
The Kenyan Government says the debt ship can still be kept afloat and there’s nothing to worry about but Kenyans disagree.