President Uhuru Kenyatta’s tough stand on anti-corruption, remains alive, amidst the journey to set up one of Africa’s smartest cities – The Konza Technopolis.
Through The Auditor-General, the government has raised a red flag over a non-procedural payment of KShs. 4.4 billion from Chinese lender to Huawei, for the construction of the smart city’s Data Centre.
This move is manifest of The President’s strong commitment against corruption through the various arms of government with the help of the multi-agency taskforce on anti-corruption.
The AG’s report stated that the lender failed to produce documents to validate payments to Huawei, putting at risk billions of shillings in taxpayers’ money.
The Konza project, kicked off in 2017 under the docket of the ICT Ministry (Konza Technopolis Authority), and Huawei. Huawei was identified in 2019 to develop a national cloud data centre, a smart ICT network, a public safe city and smart traffic solution, and a government cloud and enterprise service.
In a recent audit of the ICT Ministry tabled in parliament, it was noted that the “Annexes to the contract containing the terms and conditions of the contract including timelines, deliverables, and payment schedules in support of the payments were not provided.”
“Consequently, the validity of Sh4,393,499,464 included in the reported proceeds from foreign borrowings totaling Sh11,273,229,015 for the year ended June 30, 2020 could not be ascertained,” said Auditor General Nancy Gathungu in the report dated May 12, 2021.
In the report, Ms Gathungu queries the reported proceeds from foreign borrowing, given that Article 206 of the Constitution requires that monies received on behalf of the national government should be paid into the Consolidated Fund.
The constitution further states that, “Money may be withdrawn from the Consolidated Fund only in accordance with an appropriation by an Act of Parliament, in accordance with Article 222 or 223 or as a charge against the Fund as authorised by this Constitution or an Act of Parliament.”
Legally, only the controller of budgets approves transactions such as withdrawal of money from the Consolidated Fund. It is therefore unclear how money was borrowed from the foreign proceeds and paid to Huawei.
State Agencies and all public officers are urged to adhere to the set requirements in handling public funds, so as to discourage by any means, loopholes that promote corruption and misuse of public funds.