The Public Accounts Committee of the National Assembly has given the Auditor General Nancy Gathungu 60 days to conduct a forensic audit on the expenditures of COVID-19 funds.
According to the MPs, the audit on the expenditure of Ksh236 billion received from different organizations including the Rapid Credit Facility of the International Monetary Fund (IMF) and the World Bank should focus on procurement, warehousing and distribution of essential medicines including personal protective equipment (PPE’s) with a view to confirming whether the expenditures were incurred lawfully and in an effective way in line with Article 227 of the Constitution.
“The general objective of the forensic audit is to identify the types of fraud, corruption and other financial improprieties if any, quantifying the amount of loss; determining who was involved, when it began, why it was possible to perpetuate it, and how it was concealed; and reporting the findings with supporting evidence, ” the committee’s Chairperson James Opiyo Wandayi said on Tuesday.
“The exercise shall take a maximum of sixty (60) days including weekends and holidays from the date of this communication,” he added.
Wandayi said the Public Accounts committee expects to receive an interim report within the first thirty days of the assignment and, thereafter, fortnight progress reports and the final report by the end of the task.
This comes amid Covid-19 funds theft allegations facing the Kenya Medical Supplies Authority (KEMSA). The agency is accused of having procured PPES at a double market price.
A recent investigative report by NTV indicated that the state had lost at least Ksh43 billion of donor funds meant for Covid-19.
Opposition party ODM led by its leader Raila Odinga termed the allegations as baseless and instead called for an audit to ascertain the veracity of the Covid-19 funds theft allegations.
The party position was condemned by a section of Kenyans including Deputy President William Ruto, who said investigative agencies including the Directorate of Criminal Investigations (DCI) and the Ethics and Anti-corruption Commission (EACC) should probe the alleged embezzlement of funds and take necessary action against perpetrators.
The Auditor General is among others expected to determine the roles of the National Treasury, the Ministry of Health and other MDAs involved in the procurement, warehousing and distribution of essential medicines including PPE’s and Review and analysis of the potential red flags that may indicate fraud, corruption and other financial misappropriations including abuse of procurement laws, misappropriation of non- financial assets, inappropriate use of asset and expenditures and liabilities for an improper purpose.