TI-Kenya calls for enhanced transparency, accountability of COVID-19 funds
Following the brief on COVID-19 expenditure from the Ministry of Health to the National Assembly, Kenyans have raised concerns on the reported expenditure including lack of detailed information on the:
• Expenditure information provided on the Kshs.1.3 billion spent under the Transforming Health Systems (THS) programme, noting that most of the budgets and expenditure outlined needed more clarification to assure Kenyans that the funds were utilised prudently, and for their intended purpose.
• Amount of funds raised and managed so far under the COVID-19 Emergency Response Fund Board.
• Funds allocated and disbursed to counties to aid in dealing with the COVID-19 crisis.
We urge Parliament to demand detailed information in regard to the expenditure presented to the National Assembly by the Ministry of Health and other measures to enhance transparency and accountability including:
• Mandatory provisions of transparency and accountability measures to be adhered to by the different public entities managing public resources in this period. This should include following procurement procedures as dictated by the law and making this information publically available to enhance oversight at National and County level;
• Adoption of open information systems by all government entities and which are accessible online, as the physical presence of officials to account to parliamentarians may not always be possible under the current circumstances;
• Subjecting all expenditure incurred in COVID-19 response efforts to internal audits and instituting necessary remedial measures to safeguard against any mismanagement or loss of public money from the onset and tied to this, keenly following through the selection and appointment of an Auditor General as this process is long overdue and may affect many oversight processes in the long run.
We further note that other critical concerns made in relation to enhancing transparency and accountability in dealing with the COVID-19 crisis are yet to be addressed including:
• Lack of clear transparency and accountability measures in prioritisation, allocation, disbursement and expenditure of resources; open procurement processes and price controls for COVID-19 specific pharmaceutical products.
• Lack of a comprehensive public information portal on COVID-19 funds accessible to the public with all information including budgeting, allocation and utilisation at both national and county levels.
• Meaningful participation of critical stakeholders in dealing with the COVID-19 crisis including Non-Governmental Organisations and other special interest groups to enhance oversight, accountability and public participation in the response efforts.
• Use of quarantine facilities as detention centres for individuals caught breaking the law thereby negating the progress being made to contain the spread of the virus. These actions also put other citizens in danger whereas they are in quarantine facilities as a result of other safeguard measures through contact tracing and voluntary submission to testing.
• Compelling citizens to pay for expenses incurred during the quarantine period with inadequate consultations and assessment of their ability to afford the fees being charged, and further raising questions on whether funds for COVID-19 response efforts have been effectively prioritised, allocated and utilised.
Transparency International Kenya (TI-Kenya) will continue to support processes to improve accountability in the use of resources intended to tackle the crisis.
We are currently tracking and publishing information on COVID-19 funding and expenditure and will continue to work towards availing this information to the public and calling for maximum openness on spending at this time
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