Secrecy in Ministry of Defence on KSh135b expenditure angers MPs

MPs had demanded a solid breakdown of the expenditure how KDF spent the billions in the financial year 2022/2023 in the different army bases
Secrecy in Ministry of Defence on KSh135b expenditure angers MPs
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A stormy session ensued before the National Assembly Defence and Foreign Relations Committee after Defence Cabinet Secretary Aden Duale declined to answer queries on the expenditure of KSh135 billion in his docket citing security reasons.

MPs had demanded a solid breakdown of the expenditure how KDF spent the billions in the financial year 2022/2023 in the different army bases.

The Defence CS insisted that he would only give an outline of the expenditure of the funds and would not divulge the intricate details of how the monies was spent.

He told the irate MPs that the law only allows him to share critical information with the National Security Advisory Council and hence it would be a breach for him to spill the details before them.

In the scanty breakdown he revealed before the parliamentary committee, KDF spent KSh98 billion in emoluments and salaries, KSh28 billion for operational of military bases including food, maintenance of major parts and equipment.

The Defence Ministry used KSh1.7 billion for Civil aid, KSh1 billion used for border securitization and KSh4 billion for modernization of KDF equipment.

When MPs raised queries why the Defence Cabinet Secretary had failed to furnish the lawmakers with a detailed breakdown on the utilization of the funds, he held that it would be a security risk.

I can’t go further than that, its salary and allowances that we pay to our security forces that will directly effect on the national security of our country, no country wants to share the number of their forces!” Duale exclaimed.

There is no minister of defense in Kenya, who has ever disclosed the number of our army, I have never and I will never disclose the number of our security personnel, the only place I can do that is in the national Security Council where the commander in chief is chairing,” he added.

Legislators however rubbished the explanation demanding a breakdown on the expenditure arguing that his predecessors would be answerable before the committee on such matters.

The Nelson Koech-led committee argued there’s nothing confidential on details of expenditure given the circumstances that MPs approved the funds.

Kinangop MP Thuku Kwenya poured cold water on the Defence Cabinet Secretary’s argument asserting that the committee oversight role must not be stifled on baseless grounds.

The legislator stated it was hypocritical for CS Duale to maintain he will not disclose the numbers of the personnel yet previously he has undertaken the same before the committee.

We want to know what an allocation of 1 year has done, where has the KSh135 billion been used, if it’s about modernization tell us this is the equipment we bought and at how much, is there value of money?” questioned Kwenya.

Kajiado Central MP Elijah Memusi buttressed that the budget interrogation especially on  the KSh98 billion expenditure on personnel and emolument which include salaries and allowances ought to be broken down on certain levels.

The information that we want, when you say modernization, we want to know what is it you bought, are Kenyans getting value for money, we don’t want these blanket figures,” averred Memusi.

The Defence CS insisted the breakdown is privileged information adding that he will not jeopardize the security situation in the country given the circumstances.

Some of the information on the Defence docket we can only do it at the Defence headquarters in a room that is protected sure that this information will not get out,” he said.

The Ministry of Defence budget is audited by the Auditor General and the report interrogated by the Public Account Committee. We are not hiding anything but we will not disclose privileged information,” Duale said.

Agencies

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