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Wednesday, April 17, 2024

Budgeted Corruption: Treasury CS Denies Alleged Ksh1.5 Billion Salaries’ Inflation

National Treasury Cabinet Secretary Prof. Njuguna Ndung’u has dismissed claims by Controller of Budget Margaret Nyakang’o that the Treasury inflated the salaries of top State officials by more than Ksh1 billion.

Addressing the National Dialogue Committee on Monday, Prof. Ndung’u stated that he has already referred the issue to the Auditor General for an investigation to ascertain the facts.

“If an issue like this is brought to me I take it to the auditor general. I have already pushed this to the auditor general. You cannot make a statement unless you have provided the facts,” said the CS.

Prof. Ndung’u dismissed any insinuation of budgeted corruption, emphasizing that such an instance would amount to theft of public funds, given that disbursements are made in accordance with the budget.

“We don’t want to have that kind of connotation that we have institutionalised corruption. This is theft of public funds if it was actually taking place. We disburse money on the basis of budget.” The Minister explained.

Meanwhile, Kericho Senator Aaron Cheruiyot called for the Controller of Budget, Margaret Nyakang’o, to step down following her damning allegations regarding budgeted corruption.

Speaking when posing questions to Treasury CS Njuguna Ndung’u at the NDC, Cheruiyot argued that the revelation by Ms Nyakang’o is an acknowledgment of failure, as State officers are mandated to seek approval from her office before making substantial withdrawals, including those for salary payments.

”We should have asked her to resign because if you are allowing withdrawals through what is being revealed to the Committee, as budgeted corruption then it means either, you are incompetent or you are part and parcel of those that are stealing from us,” he said.

During her appearance before the NDC last week, Nyakang’o voiced serious concerns about the extent of premeditated corruption within the government, disclosing that her salary had been budgeted at three times its actual amount.

In the 2022/2023 financial year, the controller of budget said the Treasury budgeted her annual salary at Ksh.17.82 million, prompting concerns from her office as it significantly exceeded her actual annual income.

Despite a reduction to Ksh.10.15 million, it remained higher than her Ksh.9.18 million annual salary.

In the 2023/2024 budget, the Treasury reportedly budgeted her salary at Ksh.18,357,787—an amount approximately 93% more than her actual annual salary of Ksh.9.51 million.

“When I was doing the budget for consolidated funds services, this is where my salary is paid from, I found out that my salary was budgeted at three times what I’m paid,” Nyakang’o said.

“I am the only state office in my institution. So, there’s nothing like confusion there; I am all alone. So, I asked them why is the budget showing three times. I have not received the answer,” she added.

The Controller of Budget (CoB) pointed out a substantial discrepancy in state officers’ salaries in the 2023/2024 budget, disclosing that Ksh1.5 billion could not be accounted for.

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