Drought agency on the spot over Sh10bn - Beaking Kenya News

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Monday, 7 October 2019

Drought agency on the spot over Sh10bn

drought
The National Drought Management Authority (NDMA) cannot account for Sh10.42 billion it claims to have spent in easing drought situation in the country.
This is according to the latest report from the Office of the Auditor-General, in what appears to be one of the major scandals to hit the authority.
The audit report for the financial year 2017/18 comes as NDMA staff were fingered out for gobbling Sh5 million in domestic travel expenses.
The unaccounted for billions, according to the report currently in Parliament, include the Sh2.744 billion raised through public contributions and donations popularly known as Kenyans for Kenya campaign to help the government deal with severe hunger situations in various parts of the country.
The serious drought situations in various Arid and Semi-Arid Lands (ASAL) in the country led to the deaths of many Kenyans and animals.
DUBIOUS DEALINGS
The United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) and UNICEF reports show that expectant and lactating mothers bore the brunt of the grim situation.
There were also declines in school attendance and school participation with a rise in dropout rates among others, as money meant to manage the biting drought situation was either misused or diverted elsewhere.
The NDMA, an agency of the government created under the National Drought Act, is mandated to ensure that drought does not result in emergencies as a result of the failure of long rains and that the impacts of climate change are sufficiently mitigated.
However, this mandate appears to have fallen flat on the face of the government in the efforts to mitigate failed long rains, if the contents of the audit report tabled in Parliament last week are anything to go by.
Questionable and irregular financial dealings have been reported at the NDMA’s national drought emergencies fund, accrued expenses, unconfirmed beneficiary payments, expenses on hunger safety net programmes and unsupported expenditures among others.
ACCOUNTABILITY
The report notes that the expenditure of Sh5.049 billion was spent on hunger safety net programmes, including payments that were made to various beneficiaries.
The expenditure is not supported with documentation to demonstrate how the beneficiaries were identified and the basis of the rates used for paying them was not supported either.
“Consequently, the propriety and validity of the payments of Sh5,049,328,332 to beneficiaries together with the accuracy and completeness of the cash and cash equivalents as at June 30, 2018 cannot be ascertained,” the report signed by the immediate former Auditor-General Edward Ouko, reads in part.
Efforts to reach the NDMA Chief Executive Officer James Oduor over the audit queries were fruitless.
A senior officer at the authority was also not helpful as he declined to respond to the issues saying he is not authorized to speak to the media on matters of such magnitude. “This is surely beyond me.” the officer who declined to go on record, said.
This is despite the food security situation in the country continuing to deteriorate as vulnerable populations' lives hung by a thread.
The authority also received Sh2 billion from the government in 2016/17 financial year in national drought emergency fund.

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