By Peter Opiyo and Alex Ndegwa
Various ministries and departments returned money meant for critical projects to Treasury even as teachers and medics battled the Government for better pay and terms of service.
The shame of weak financial controls, poor project planning and delays in procurement due to late release of funds by the Ministry of Finance have been exposed in a report by the Controller of Budget, Agnes Odhiambo.
Releasing the report on Wednesday, Odhiambo revealed that Government ministries and departments failed to spend a total of Sh101.6 billion in the last financial year (2011/12).
A big chunk of the unspent funds were for development expenditure. This means that projects like construction of roads, schools, dams, health facilities and water schemes to ease the suffering of Kenyans were not complete across the country.
The Ethics and Anti Corruption Commission was named the worst performer in spending development budget. It only spent 0.1 per cent of its Sh232 million-development budget.
However, the anti-graft agency has been without top management for a long time after former directors led by PLO Lumumba were sacked by Parliament while the appointment of new officials has also been delayed.
The Cabinet Office was the second worst performer recording 1.5 per cent expenditure of its Sh4 billion allocation.
Other ministries named among the bottom five were the East African Community (Sh1.3 million out of Sh74 million) at 1.7 per cent.
Best and worst
Justice and Constitutional Affairs, then under Mutula Kilonzo, used Sh55 million of its Sh1 billion budget for development (5.3 per cent) while the Labour Ministry of John Munyes was third on the list of poor performers, spending just Sh85 million of its Sh1.1 billion allocation (7.4 per cent).
The failure to use funds meant for development is an indictment because it undermines service delivery by denying the public access to vital facilities.