Ogeto defends Treasury on formation of Covid-19 Funds Board

Ogeto defends Treasury on formation of Covid-19 Funds Board

Solicitor-General Kennedy Ogeto has defended the National Treasury in the wake of allegations that it made a mistake in establishing the Covid-19 Funds Board, which was later renamed a Private Limited Company despite receiving and handling public funds.
Ogeto informed the Parliamentary Public Accounts Committee that the 12-member board was not established in accordance with the Public Finance Management Act’s provisions, and hence was not charged with mobilizing resources to combat the Covid-19 pandemic.
“We have two processes, the first of which was initiated by the National Treasury but was abandoned because it was not adequately carried out.
We have another process by private entities a fund with private funds and that one was properly set up, there is nothing wrong with it,” he said.
The parliamentary team headed by Ugunja MP Opiyo Wandayi is investigating queries raised through the special audit, into missing millions of shillings collected by the President’s Covid-19 task force, after it emerged the money never hit Treasury accounts.
MPs led by Aden Duale said it was odd that Yattani had not appointed a fund administrator yet the docket he heads, surrendered Sh105 million drawn from salary cuts from government agencies and various domestic and foreign donors.
“Violation of law and using wrong procedure is an audit query,” Duale said.
Officials from the Auditor-General’s office vowed to furnish the public funds watchdog committee with evidence that the National Treasury received close to Sh38 million.
Treasury Principal Secretary Julius Muia when he appeared before the committee in January revealed that the government is yet to utilize Sh9.9 billion monies which were part of the COVID-19 Emergency Response Fund meant to help the vulnerable in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic in the country.
According to Muia, the funds are in a contingency fund sitting idle at the Central Bank of Kenya and National Bank of Kenya.
The COVID-19 Emergency Response Fund was established by President and on March 30, 2020, he appointed twelve members to run the operations of the board.
During the meeting it also emerged that Treasury was sidelined in the activities of the board.
“We as Treasury we did not participate in what was going on in that fund, with respect to the legality or illegality of that it is only the Attorney General who can respond to that,” Muia said.
According to Treasury, between March 13, 2020, to 31 July Kenya received a total of Sh224 billion as part of concessional loans to help fight COVID-19.
Sh166 billion was utilized during the process leaving a balance of Sh57 billion which was transferred to the Financial Year 2021/2022.
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