Pressure on Devolution and Planning Cabinet Secretary Anne Waiguru to leave office could increase after MPs on the Public Accounts Committee discovered a litany of inflated expenses in a department under her watch.
Among these was the supply and installation of a touch screen in her office at a cost of Sh1.798 million and computers, a printer, telephone headsets and a water dispenser at a combined cost of Sh1.4 million.
Among the more outrageous ones was a case where, in June 2014, the Huduma Kenya Secretariat paid Sh174,000 for 20 blue, fine-tipped ball point pens, meaning each was bought at Sh8,700.
The register does not indicate whether the department bought 20 cartons of pens or 20 pens of the variety usually known as "biros".
Most of the payments were indicated to have been made in June 2014, which raised eyebrows at the committee sitting because traditionally, ministries rush to spend money remaining in their budgets before the end of the financial year on June 30.
The expenses were discovered as the committee scrutinised the ministry’s thick file of replies to the queries raised in the Auditor-General’s report on the government’s accounts for the 2013/2014 financial year.
The Auditor-General had queried the ministry’s failure to spend the Sh11 billion it had budgeted for in the 2013/2014 financial year. It had spent Sh8 billion but had not provided payment vouchers and a register of assets.
UNUSUALLY HIGH COSTS
As MPs pored through the asset register for the Directorate of Public Service Management, where Sh1.2 billion was spent, committee chairman Nicolas Gumbo and Balambala MP Abdikadir Omar Aden pointed out the unusually high costs.
Among these were: a photocopier at Sh1.4 million; 45 external hard disks at Sh11,102 each; a laptop bought for Sh206,000; 18 tailor-made clear male and female condom dispensers at Sh25,000 each; CorelDraw software for Sh3.4 million; a computer and personal laptop for Sh1.1 million; and carpets at Sh3.8 million.
There was also a photocopier worth Sh1.4 million, anti-virus software that can be bought at Sh75,000 in the open market but supplied to the ministry at Sh973,780