Detectives pledge action on funds delay

Wednesday April 27 2011

By AGGREY MUTAMBO [email protected]

Detectives will soon look into claims that Sh3.8 billion meant for small businesses have been misappropriated.

Kenya Anti-Corruption Commission (KACC) director Patrick Lumumba said on Wednesday he had received complaints about the fund from vendors.

“I have invited them to give us more details to enable us investigate the matter. Once they provide us with the information we want, we will follow it up with what our mandate requires,” he said.

On Thursday last week, a vendors’ lobby expressed fears over delays in disbursing the money.

Kenya National Alliance of Street Vendors and Informal Traders (Kenasvit) chairman Simon ole Nasieku said three banks contracted to give money to the traders had not honoured their pledge, despite the release of the funds by the Treasury.

“We are concerned that, should the fund not be disbursed in its entirety before June 30, this year, it could be easily diverted to other schemes,” he said.

This follows claims by two MPs last week on Tuesday that the banks were working with a cartel in government to review lending terms arbitrarily.

Mr David Ngugi (Kinangop) and Ndiritu Muriithi (Laikipia West) said the Treasury had ignored their attempts to discuss the matter, forcing them to go public about it.

Prof Lumumba said he would first meet representatives of the vendors and informal traders before taking the next step. However, it was not clear when the meeting would take place.

The Micro and Small Enterprises Fund was a provision in the current Budget to help informal traders improve their businesses.

Sh3.8 billion was allocated to the kitty, of which the government had to give Sh750 million while the three banks were to give top up the deficit.

Impose conditions

Under the arrangement, the banks were to provide Sh5 for every Sh1 given by the government. But while the fund was meant for small traders, commercial banks had the right to impose their terms and conditions, ranging from high interest rates to demanding guarantors.

This would cushion them from losses in case the traders defaulted in repayment.

Earlier this month, the Treasury published an advertisement to dissociate itself from a group of people going round constituencies claiming they had the mandate to recruit probable candidates for the loan.