Former Treasury Cabinet Secretary (CS) Ukur Yattani has now come out to clear his name in the Ksh15 billion payments made at the tail end of President Uhuru Kenyatta’s regime saying the money was legally processed.
In a statement, Yatani said Controller of Budget Margaret Nyakang’o was out to tarnish his name as he did no wrong.
“Allegations by the Controller of Budget that I exerted pressure on her to make “some payments” while serving as the Cabinet Secretary for The National Treasury, are false, malicious and actionable in law.
Her submissions to parliament depicted my actions as Cabinet Secretary for the National Treasury as designed to facilitate the theft of public funds.
“This depiction is libelous and defamatory to my character and professional service to the public in many capacities. I have instructed my lawyers to study her utterances and advice on a lawsuit against her person,” he said.
The former Treasury boss said Article 223 of the 2010 Constitution empowers the Cabinet Secretary for the National Treasury to authorize expenditures that have not been appropriated by Parliament, in certain situations, without the approval of Parliament.
“Once such funds are committed, Article 223 (2) provides that parliamentary approval is sought post-facto within a period of two months. This is a constitutional fact and practice. For the Controller of Budgets to suggest that I pressured her to authorize “some payments” without parliamentary approval is therefore calculated malice.
“Using the same constitutional instruments at Article 223, the National Treasury recently sought the approval of expenditure amounting to Sh127.5 Billion for the national government through a supplementary budget that was passed last week.
“The expenditure was approved by the Controller of Budgets using the same constitutional provisions that applied to the said Ksh15 billion that I had approved and which she now says are irregular,” he stated.
At the same time, Yatani said Article 223(2) requires that any expenditure not appropriated by Parliament, but deemed necessary for the running of government can be incurred and approved by parliament post-facto.
“The said Ksh 15 billion was approved by parliament last week as part of the Ksh 127,5 Billion Supplementary Budget presented by the current CS Treasury on 31st January 2023. This was accented into law by H.E President Ruto on March 7th, 2023.
“If indeed the said Sh15 billion was approved with the intention of stealing public funds, why did it find its way into the current Supplementary Budget? The Controller of Budgets is completely briefed on this by virtue of her office. And that is why her submissions to parliament were ill-intent and bent on mudslinging the former administration. This can only be a case of classic cherry-picking,” he said.
He insisted that there was no money that was lost.
“The Controller of Budget insinuated that there was a rush to have these funds approved with the intention of stealing from the public. Yet the truth is that these funds were in respect of Fuel and Maize subsidies. This was to cushion families during the uncertain period of unprecedentedly high food and fuel prices occasioned by both external and internal environments.
“The funds were also allocated to the construction of Lamu-Garissa and Garissa-Isiolo Roads. The contractors had abandoned work and needed their bills paid. This was a priority of a national security nature. Largely because of the security fragility of the spaces in these roads are located and therefore the government had the responsibility to secure these spaces at all times.
“The funds were also allocated to the construction of a modern referral hospital facility for Kenya’s Defence forces. This facility was recently opened by H.E. President Dr. William Ruto. If indeed the said Ksh15 billion was stolen, how did the President commission this hospital?” He posed.
Yatani further revealed that the Office of the Deputy President requested Ksh1.5 billion immediately Rigathi Gachagua was sworn in as the DP.
“Just to mention, immediately after the 2022 election, a request on behalf of the current Deputy President was presented to my office under the same article 223 for approval and disbursement of Ksh1.59 Billion for his office use.
“It included Ksh300 million for cars, and Ksh330 million for hospitality, a request that I did not grant in full but considered an amount of Kshs 500 Million due to the financial constraints we had at that time. This information like all others is in the public domain and I have nothing to hide because of the nature of operations at the national treasury,” he stated.
He accused Nyakang’o of playing politics.
“It’s clear that these malicious allegations and line of narratives are politically choreographed and designed to hurt innocent public servants due to change of regime, which unfortunately, will have long-term unhealthy effects of precipitating fear and inactions in future,” he said.