Mercy Mwai @wangumarci
The National Assembly’s Public Accounts Committee (PAC) has demanded to know the circumstances under which two former Cabinet secretaries, Judi Wakhungu and Dan Kazungu were paid Sh7 million each for car allowances.
The committee demanded to know why their respective ministries made the payment yet a presidential circular had capped the upper limit of car allowances for CSs at Sh2 million.
The committee, chaired by Ugunja MP Opiyo Wandayi, also sought to know why the two failed to remit taxes amounting to Sh2.1 million, from money advanced to them during their tenure in Cabinet.
President Uhuru Kenyatta dropped Wakhungu (Environment) and Kazungu (Mining) from Cabinet but appointed them as ambassadors to France and Tanzania, respectively
Appearing before the committee, Water and Irrigation Principal Secretary Joseph Irungu was at pains to explain, who authorised the payments to Wakhungu against the circular Ref. No. CAB/56/2A of July 7, 2011.
The move came after Irungu confirmed to the committee the circular, sent by then former head of Civil Service Francis Muthaura, had directed that the paying department was to hold the tax amounts for onward submission to the Kenya Revenue Authority (KRA).
On the other hand, Mining PS John Omenge, who had also appeared before the same committee, said the ministry advanced Sh7 million to Kazungu.
He, however, failed to explain whether the then Mining CS spent the money to buy a car.
This comes a month after Water Cabinet secretary Simon Chelugui wrote to his Foreign Affairs counterpart Monica Juma for assistance in recovering Sh2.1 million.
In a letter dated August 15, Chelugui said the ministry procured a vehicle for the then CS but failed to deduct the amount from Sh7 million car allowance.
Chelugui said that in order to correct the anomaly, he requested the ministry to facilitate recovery of the Sh2.i million tax refund and remit the same to KRA.
“This Ministry pursuant to Presidential Circular Ref. No CAB/56/2A of July 7, 2011 procured a vehicle for the then Cabinet Secretary Ms Judy Wakhungu. The Ministry however erroneously failed to withhold tax amounting to Sh2,100,000 which is 30 per cent of the Sh7 million authorized car allowance.”
The anomalies in the two ministries were queried by the Auditor General in the financial year 2014/2015 and financial year2015/16.