Thursday, May 9, 2013
Foreign Affairs workers held accountable over Sh. 3.5 billion use
TEN workers from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation including an officer from the state house earlier alleged to have asked and received money amounting to Sh. 3.5 billion from the ministry of finance to cater for the sake of the Presidential journeys outside the country, have been penalized over the issue. The Parliament was told yesterday. Winding up a debate on questions and answers on behalf of the Minister of Finance, the deputy Minister for Finance Janet Mbene said that, investigations earlier carried over the matter discovered that there was some sort of misconduct and violation of office rules and financial regulations that led to the withdrawal of the money from the government coffers. However, he assured the parliament that, there was no any theft of the money and instead, what had transpired in the whole process is the violation of office administration and financial regulations which he said has been found to have been committed by the culprits from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and the state House. He said that, out of 11 suspected servants, 10 of them whom he couldn’t identify their names were found to have been involved and a disciplinary action has so far been taken against them. He couldn’t mention their names, a move that Speaker Anne Makinda supported on account that was being investigated. He mentioned actions taken against the culprits includes demotion, decrease of their salaries and some have their ranks changed, while some have been transferred away from their original working centres. Earlier, a Member of Parliament for Mfenesini, Hon. Hassib Suleimanb Omar wanted to know the whereabouts of the reported amount of Sh. 3.5 billion taken for the Presidential journey, and what procedures that allowed junior officers from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation to authorize such a great sum of money from the government coffers while their seniors are outside the country on a special assignment. He queried also that as if this action is not a loss to the government or not, and why is it that the senior officers of the ministry leaves their junior officers to authorize such a huge sum of money from the government coffers, and also what was the logic behind for all senior officials of the ministry to travel at the same time outside the country, and what actions which has been taken so far to the suspects over the issue. In answering these queries, the deputy Minister told the Parliament that, there were no official procedures which could have allowed the junior officers in the ministry to authorize such a huge sum of money for the ministry, unless otherwise the deputy who works in an acting capacity could be in a position to do so. However, he said that, the money is authorized by officers who are acting the position in the absence of the senior ones, either he said that, their principles and financial regulations are governed at any time when needed for the authorization for the public use. He further noted that, the laws and the principles of the public civil management allows officers to work in an acting capacity while their seniors are out of the office on a special assignment like annual leave or if are out of their office on a special assigned tour outside the country. He said the government does not expect to incur any loss once some of their leaders would travel outside the country and have their positions taken over by their assistants as this is a normal work routine which has been there to run the government operation, as it is impossible to leave it vacant to wait for them to come back.