Free for all misuse of funds at the eck (four-page summary

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Published on May 16, 2011

Author: africog



Free for all misuse of funds at the eck (four-page summary

Free for all?Misuse of Public Funds at theElectoral Commission of KenyaIntroduction structures to minimise the chances of corruption and abuse of power, includingGood governance demands in the matter of finances. Further, asaccountability and transparency in a public institution, an electoral bodythe use of public funds. While a lot owes it to the public to carry out its workhas been said of the defunct ECK’s as cost-effectively as possible, and tomismanagement of the December 2007elections, there has been little discussion properly account for public funds.on weaknesses in the institution that Misuse of Funds at the ECKsaw the public defrauded of millions ofshillings over a span of 15 years. This This brief summarises the findings andis despite reports of the Controller and recommendations of “Free for All?” aAuditor General (CAG) that consistently recent report by AfriCOG, on the misusequestioned how money was being spent of public funds at the ECK between 1992at the ECK over this period. and 2007. By revealing the financial rot at the ECK, “Free for All?” points to theWhy Election Money is a Big Deal culture of patronage, impunity and poor management that the new electoralThe Independent Review Commission of body must guard against.Inquiry (IREC, also known as the KrieglerCommission after its Chair, Justice 800 Million Lost in UnauthorisedJohan Kriegler) was set up following Expenditurethe post-election violence to assess themanagement of the elections. Among Between 1991 and 2006, the ECKits recommendations were a number of was entrusted with KES 15.8 billionstrong proposals for a radical reform of for various electoral activities includingthe ECK, or, alternatively, the creation voter education, voter registrationof a new electoral management body and conducting elections. Duringwhich would have “a new name, image that period, Kenya held three generaland ethos committed to administrative elections at regular five-year intervals,excellence in the service of electoral as well as the 2005 Referendum on theintegrity” and “…with a properly- Draft Constitution and a number of by-structured professional secretariat”. elections.A culture of excellence is critical for any In various audit reports the CAGelectoral body to deliver free and fair questioned how KES 1.93 billionelections. This means putting in place was spent. This is roughly 12% of thesound administrative and governance amount disbursed to the Commission.This is a summary of AfriCOG’s report “Free for all?” available at

AfriCOG SummARY REPORT The highest questionable spending was that the CAG raised the matter over unauthorized over-expenditure amounting successive financial years. to over KES 800 million, either reflecting When questioned by the Public weak budgeting by the Accounting Officer Accounts Committee (PAC) about or poor resource flows from Treasury. these irregularities, the accounting Outstanding imprests1 of KES 6.5 million officer responded that it is the ECK’s were of less concern, but nevertheless, prerogative to decide whether or reflect badly on the management not to maintain records of its own capability of the accounting officer. meetings. Incredibly, the officer went on to say that since ECK meetings Unchecked Spending by had no quorum, a sitting can be by one Commissioners member, two members or the whole The most blatant improprieties at commission; which justifies payment of the ECK were committed by the sitting allowances for 365 days a year.3 Commissioners themselves. Over a This flagrant mismanagement was period of seven years from 1991, during clearly a result of political patronage which the late Retired Justice Chesoni that allowed the ECK to get away with served as Chairman, Commissioners such misuse of funds. benefited from over KES 148 million through irregularly-paid sitting and What Could Kenya Have Done with subsistence allowances as well as this Money? other expenses such as the wasteful Government estimates indicate that hire of cars. a dispensary serving about 10,000The CAG questioned So casual was the management of people would cost about KES 10 millionhow the ECK spent funds that it was common practice for to build and equip, while a health centreover KES 1.93 billion ECK commissioners to pay themselves serving 30,000 people would cost- roughly 12% of the about KES 30 million for the it received both sitting and subsistence allowancesfrom 1991 to 2007 for every day of the year including This means that irregular payments to Saturdays, Sundays and public holidays, commissioners amounting to KES 148 and in some instances, when they million as indicated above would have were out of the country. Subsistence built and equipped 22 dispensaries or allowances are usually paid to enable 7 health centres. Even more alarming, an officer to ‘subsist’ away from his or the total amount questioned by the CAG her duty station and cannot be paid would have provided Kenyans with 193 together with sitting allowances. At one fully equipped dispensaries or 64 fully time, a commissioner who received an equipped health centres! unauthorised KES 926,600 ex-gratia2 Were there Any Other Questionable refund of medical and travel expenses Deals? for treatment locally and abroad also received full sitting and subsistence In what appears to be collusion between allowances while incapacitated. field offices and the headquarters, there were rampant irregularities in the Yet there was no evidence (such hire and repair of vehicles and in the as minutes of meetings) that the procurement of fuel, spares and stores. Commission was indeed in session every day of the year, which might In the case of motor vehicle spare have justified the sitting allowances. parts for example, there are numerous This practice continued despite the fact instances where it is doubtful whether 1. Imprests are cash advances issued to officers to make 3. Republic of Kenya, ‘Report of the Public Accounts timely, specific payments in the course of their duties, Committee on the Government of Kenya Accounts for which cannot be conveniently paid through the cash the Year 1993/4 Volume 1.’ office (petty cash). 2. Ex-gratia – with no legal obligation 2

SUMMARY OF AUDIT QUERIES FROM 1997-2007 AMOUNT (KES) CATEGORY 1992-2007 1997-2007 Percentage1 Commissioners - Irregular Payments 219,482,556 61,212,000 28%2 Irregular Allowances to Security Personnel and other Public Servants 69,527,050 45,904,510 66%3 Doubtful Hire and Repair of Vehicles 119,501,805 119,501,805 100%4 Irregularities in Procurement of Spares, Fuel and other Stores 52,141,281 48,798,661 93%5 Outstanding Imprest 8,378,478 3,845,998 46%6 unauthorised Over-expenditure 868,831,740 - -7 unsupported Expenditure 263,404,463 55,745,363 21%8 Other Irregular and Wasteful Expenditure 332,445,600 322,265,580 97% TOTAL 1,933,712,973 657,273,917 34%* The late Retired Justice Chesoni headed the ECK from 1992-1997 while Samuel Kivuitu was the ECK Chair from 1997-2007. the purchases were actually made. No civil servants, authority was not sought inspection reports were available to from the Directorate of Personnel confirm that the vehicle repairs and management (the Government’s human spares were necessary, no records were resources department). This means that available to show receipt and issue of the these civil servants received double pay spares reportedly bought and whether for one task as delivery of ECK work they were fitted to particular vehicles, could only have been at the expense of and vehicles supposedly fitted with the performing their regular work. Some of new parts could not be identified. There these payments amounted to over KES is also no record of the disposal of old 69.5 million between 1993 and 2003. parts from vehicles. How was Such Recklessness Between 1997 and 2003, the CAG Allowed? estimated that KES 29.4 million was probably lost through such malpractices. The ECK was plagued by numerous The Police Department, which should economic and political governance investigate these irregularities was the challenges, the most obvious being greatest procurement offender with political patronage. This led to a deep KES 16.9 million of suspected losses - and pervasive culture of spending with a whopping 62% of the total sum lost impunity, both at the headquarters and through dodgy procurement. at district offices, leaving considerable amounts of public funds unaccounted In addition, doubtful payments to short- for or even wrongly benefiting individuals term staff were rampant between in the institution. 1992 and 1997. Whenever the ECK conducted nationwide exercises such Other problems that ensured continuing as voter registration and general financial mismanagement at the ECK elections, short-term auxiliary staff were included: recruited for these labour-intensive 1. Poorly-planned decentralisation assignments. Whereas the bulk of the resulting in ineffective financial recruits would be unemployed school management leavers or tertiary-level students, active 2. Low cost-effectiveness of operations. or retired civil servants usually filled The Kriegler Commission found the senior positions. In some instances ECK’s elections cost per registered where payments were allegedly made to voter was uS$13.74, compared 3

AfriCOG SummARY REPORT to uS$1.6 for Benin, uS$2.7 for as voter registration, and financial Botswana, uS$ 0.7 for Ghana and management is part of this improved uS$1.2 for Senegal. These costs are capacity. only comparable to very special cases 3. Strengthening the role of of post-conflict elections such as in parliamentary committees, especially Angola, Afghanistan or Cambodia. the Public Accounts Committee 3. Poor internal auditing (PAC). The PAC should be given 4. Weak parliamentary committees (that the power and resources to act on are supposed to provide a check on its own recommendations. Further, institutions) measures must be taken to ensure 5. Lack of political will to reform that members of PAC and PIC (Public Investments Committees) How can Kenya Ensure Proper Use of are above reproach by enforcing the Election Money? new Standing Orders to bar anyone With these challenges in mind and the with an unresolved public audit query reconstitution of the electoral commission from sitting on the committees4. underway, Kenya must plan for critical 4. Making past offenders face the law to structural reforms to avoid the corruption, deter future malpractices. The Public inefficiencies and mistakes of the past and Officers’ Ethics Act, the Anti-Corruption ensure the creation of a sound electoral and Economic Crimes Act and the body that can cost-effectively deliver free Public Procurement and Disposal Act and fair elections to Kenyans. We can do provide for this. Failure to successfully this by: prosecute cases of grand corruption 1. Rationalising the powers of the perpetuates the vice. president/the executive in the 5. Providing people-friendly audit reports appointment of top officials. This is to enable wananchi to see how important so that public officers owe taxpayers’ money is spent. Currently, allegiance to the State and not to the both the language and length of the President. CAG reports makes them inaccessible 2. Improving levels and flows of resources to the average Kenyan. This hinders for better planning. The new electoral effective civic vigilance. body should have strengthened capacity to ensure greater efficiency. Computerisation of operations for 4. Section 162 of the new Standing Orders bars parliamentarians with pending audit queries from greater transparency in activities, such chairing parliamentary select committees About AfriCOG AfriCOG is a civil society organisation dedicated to addressing the structural and institutional causes of corruption and bad governance in Kenya. Through this summary report, AfriCOG aims to Free for all? contribute to the debate on institutional reform with objective information on financial management at the ECK as reported in the Controller & Auditor General’s Reports between 1992 and 2007. Misuse of funds at the Electoral Commission of Kenya “Free for All?” is the first in AfriCOG’s Budget Accountability Series. The Series monitors and profiles transparency and accountability in the use of public funds as reported by the Controller and Auditor General. The full report is available on www.africog.orgOTHER AfriCOGREPORTS: AfriCOG’s Partners:• Shattered DreamsAn audit of the Kibaki Department for International Development (DfID); Open Society Initiative for East Africa (OSIEA);Government’s anti-corruptiondrive 2003 – 2007 The Royal Finnish Embassy in Kenya; The Royal Netherlands Embassy in Kenya; Donor partners• Postponing the Truth in the National Response Initiative (uRAIA) and German Technical Cooperation (GTZ)How Commissions of Inquiryare used to circumvent justicein Kenya• Mission Impossible?Implementing therecommendations of theNdung’u Report Contact: P.O Box 18157-00100, Nairobi, Kenya | Tel: +254 20 2723031 | Fax: +254 20 2714675 | 4 email: | Website:;

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