Should Taxpayers Expect to Pay Out More Refunds for Corruption?

Posted by on 7th November 2011

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“The Treasury has a made a decision to refund the money on behalf of the government,” said Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Education, James Ole Kiyiapi, earlier this week. The Permanent Secretary was speaking in relation to the UK government’s demand that it be reimbursed for aid funding given to the Ministry of Education, which then went missing in the 4.2 billion shilling Ministry of Education scandal. The treasury has paid back a total of 178 million shillings to the Department for International Development (DfID) the official development agency of the UK government.

According to media reports the Canadian High Commission and the World Bank have made similar demands for the refund of aid money misappropriated by government ministries. The Canadian High Commission has issued the Treasury a refund bill in the amount of 52.4 million shillings and the World Bank is demanding a refund of over 900 million shillings misappropriated under the Kazi Kwa Vijana scheme.

I agree with the DfID spokesperson who stated it was the right of the UK government to be fully reimbursed for their share of funds that had been stolen as the UK government had an obligation to its taxpayers to ensure that their money is used for the intended purposes.
Back to the Kenyan government and its responsibility to its taxpayers. One wonders if the government is going to pursue the culprits who misappropriated the funds and recover the funds or whether the Treasury going to let taxpayers foot the bill for the refunds.

Also worrying is the potential size of the refund bill, especially if taxpayers are expected to fund it. Remember the Auditor General’s Report 2009/2010 which revealed billions of missing shillings from various government ministries? What proportion of these missing funds are donor funds? Will there be more requests of refunds for misappropriated funds? And will the treasury be refunding donors with taxpayer money, or will it find the culprits and recover the funds?