MPs order Auditor General to audit Sh236 billion Covid-19 expenditure

Auditor General Nancy Gathungu

MPs have given the new Auditor-General 60 days to do a forensic audit over the Sh236 billion used on Covid-19 interventions in the country.

The National Assembly’s Public Accounts Committee on Tuesday ordered Auditor General Nancy Gathungu to conduct a forensic audit on the use of Covid-19 funds focusing on procurement, warehousing and distribution of essential medicines, including PPE.

This is with a view to confirm whether the expenditures were incurred lawfully and in an effective way in line with Article 227 of the Constitution.

The resolution was reached at a PAC meeting chaired by Ugunja MP Opiyo Wandayi in Parliament Buildings.

The watchdog committee expects to receive an interim audit report within the first 30 days of the assignment and, thereafter, progress reports and final report by the end of the assignment.

Ther has been a push and pull over the use of of the fund, which has since been politicised, as Deputy President William Ruto and ODM leader Raila Odinga attack each other over claims of corruption at Kemsa.

“The Covid Billionaire heist at KEMSA is a deplorable manifestation of the worst public vice. The hypocritical “former” Opposition have clearly characteristically changed tune,” Ruto said on Tuesday.

His statement came a day after Raila on Monday defended the ODM party’s position issued in statement on Saturday.

“He said that ODM’s position in the graft allegations in Covid-19 related resources is for the Jubilee government to conduct a thorough and urgent audit of all the funds put at the disposal of various state agencies, departments and ministries to fight the pandemic.

On Saturday, ODM secretary general Edwin Sifuna issued a statement to defend Kemsa against graft allegations, saying higher prices for Covid-19 equipment alone cannot be a basis for doubting the probity of those who undertook the procurement.

Sifuna went ahead to attack Deputy President William Ruto, claiming that he went public with ‘the juvenile and improper statement that ‘at least now nobody will blame me for stealing Covid-19 funds’”.

But Ruto said the perpetrators “of this heist are lucky they do not carry the tag “Ruto allies”, otherwise they would have taken political responsibility, stepped aside, written statements, companies investigated, individuals arrested and hauled to court”.

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