A government project to supply gas cylinders, burners and grills to Kenyans was derailed by corruption cartels, costing government one billion shilling, the Auditor General has revealed.

The plan, which would have seen millions of poor Kenyans benefit though distribution of subsidised gas cylinders is on its death bed, as it has not been implemented to date.

According to the Auditor General, the Mwananchi Gas project, launched in 2016 was initially to be implemented by the defunct Ministry of Energy and Petroleum beginning 2016, but was later handed over to the National Oil Corporation of Kenya (Nock). The project was expected to support poor households access cleaner modes of cooking through the subsidised gas cylinders, burners and grills. Now, about Kshs.1 billion spent on the project risks being lost due to corruption cartels and bureaucracy.

The tender for supply of the gas project products, resulted in supply of only about 60 percent of the products, with no value for the millions already spent.

According to the Auditor General records revealed that a total of 144,092 6kg gas cylinders, 357,360-cylinder grills and 357,336 gas burners valued at Kshs.539,741,103 were received from the State Department for Petroleum. That of these, the corporation, jointly with the State Department for Petroleum inspected and certified the use of 45,797 cylinders, 40,484 gas burners and 114,680 grills with an aggregate value of Kshs.56,419,124.

According to the FY 2018/19 Nock audit report, the remainder of the 150,768 gas cylinders, 272,567 grills and 357,355 burners that were supplied to the State Department in 2017 had not been included in the agency’s financial statements and the management due to lack of formal authority from the State Department for Petroleum to transfer ownership of the items to the corporation.

The report also revealed that as by June 30, 2018, the state department had spent a total of Kshs.870,339,283 on the project, which included the purchase of 161 40-foot containers for storage and subsidised refilling of the gas cylinders.

In a play of bureaucratic inefficiencies, the corporation says the project was shelved because the ministry has not responded to its request asking to have full ownership and custody of the products, after the project was transferred to it.

As millions of poor households’ hopes for clean cooking equipment are dashed, it appears that even among the gas cylinders that were delivered, many were confirmed to have been faulty, leading to loss of millions of public funds.

Corruption cartels continue to hinder development projects aimed at betterment of the lives of millions of poor Kenyans. However, this will not deter the resolve of the anti-graft agencies who have been following up of corruption and economic crimes unveiled through audit reports and pursuing the culprits to recover public funds.

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