Tuesday July 20, 2021
Treasury PS Julius Muia. FILE PHOTO | NMG
The Treasury cannot account for Sh2 billion that Kenya received from the African Union as reimbursement for its troops fighting Al-Shabaab in Somalia.
The Treasury said it would require seven days to consult with the Ministry of Defence, which was to receive Sh8.5 billion as reimbursements from the African Union Mission in Somalia’s (Amisom).
Treasury PS Julius Muia told Parliament that the Treasury did not have views on the Defence Ministry budget because it was “a security matter”.
The Treasury had in June 2018 appointed the Defence ministry as a receiver of revenue and was to receive Sh8.5 billion at end of June 2019.
However, Auditor-General Nancy Gathungu, said only Sh6.5 billion was surrendered to the Treasury as reimbursements from Amisom.
“The Amisom reimbursements used to be appropriations in aid. But we agreed to fund Kenya Defence Forces operations in Somalia from the exchequer and thereafter the Defence ministry makes refunds to the National Treasury once they receive money from African Union,” said Dr Muia.
The grants to Kenya are usually made through the African Union Peace Facility. Soldiers fighting militants in Somalia usually serve for one year, which may be extended by a few months or cut short depending on the situation.
Conservative estimates earlier showed the international community pays $1,028 (Sh112,052) for each soldier per month. Their respective governments then deduct about $200 (Sh21,800) for administrative costs, meaning the soldiers take home about $800 (Sh87,200).
The European Union funds largely cater for allowances for the Amisom troops and police, international and local civilian staff salaries, and operational costs of their offices.
The United Nations Support Office in Somalia, on the other hand, provides logistics support to the Amisom troops and Somali National Security Forces during joint operations.
The refunds to Kenya have been falling with indications that Nairobi has gradually been reducing its defence forces from the war-torn country.
Dr Muia sought seven days to consult the Defence Ministry to get the correct amounts that were reimbursed to Kenya by African Union.
He said the Treasury has no view of the Defence Ministry budget because it is presented as a one liner budget.
“We usually get a block figure of their estimates from the Ministry of Defence and what they are likely to recover from Amisom in terms of the personnel and equipment deployed in Somalia,” Dr Muia said.
Dr Muia said government policy on the treatment of Defence budget is that it comes as a one liner item due to the security nature of the department.
“We have a budget officer that we have seconded to the Ministry of Defence to ensure that numbers the Ministry come up with are credible,” Dr Muia told the Public Accounts Committee (PAC).
PAC chairman Opiyo Wandayi, MPs Peter Masara (Suna West), Aden Duale (Garissa Township) and Joseph Nduati (Gatanga) put Dr Muia to task to explain why the PS is not vetted positively to access detailed budgets of the Defence Ministry.
“I am surprised the PS Treasury is not vetted. He just releases the money and is unable to check whatever money he releases to the Defence Ministry is spent for. There must be people who are positively vetted to interrogate defence spending,” Mr Masara said.
Mr Nduati demanded to know the amount of money the Defence Ministry collected, accounted for and remitted to the Treasury since being appointed receivers of revenues.