On Tuesday, police arrested Dr. Margaret Nyakango, the Controller of Budget, for her involvement in a 2016 complaint, implicating her and 10 others.
This incident occurred before her appointment as the controller of budget.
Why? she was arrested.
Dr. Nyakango and the group are facing multiple charges, including conspiracy to defraud under Section 317 of the Penal Code, operating an unlicensed Sacco in violation of Section 24 and Section 66 of the Sacco Societies Act, 2008, along with charges of forgery and presenting a false document as per Section 353 of the Penal Code.
She was detained in Mombasa, where she was due to be charged. The office of the Director of public prosecutions sanctioned these charges in a communication to the DCI on November 30.
Reportedly, Dr. Nyakango was attending a public function in Mombasa when she was followed and subsequently arrested.
The authorities are also making efforts to apprehend the other individuals involved.
The suspects include Jackson Ngure Wanjau, Susan Kendi, James Makena Wanyagi, John Muchira Kithaka, Jane Karuu Ndanvi, Muthoni Elphas, Joan Chumo, Mercy Ndura Mukora, Gregory Mwangangi Mailu, and Michael Kipkurui.
Dr.nyakango, known for her outspoken views on public spending in the country, has recently raised concerns over the government’s ability to maintain crucial services amidst a weakening shilling and increasing public debt.
Amidst these developments, a recent report by the Office of the Controller of Budget, overseen by Margaret Nyakango, has cast a stark light on the nation’s financial health. This report reveals a troubling scenario: an overwhelming 83 percent of all government revenue has been directed towards debt repayment. In her appearance before the Budget and Appropriations Committee, Nyakango highlighted that of the Ksh.4.18 trillion budget for the 2022/23 Financial Year, primarily dependent on collections by the Kenya Revenue Authority (KRA), a staggering 83 percent is allocated for public debt service. This leaves a mere 17 percent for other governmental operations, necessitating further borrowing to sustain ongoing government functions.
“The debt situation is alarming, with the total standing at Ksh.10.25 trillion as of 30th June, exceeding the statutory limit,” Nyakango stated. This 18 percent surge in public debt puts additional pressure on the exchequer to generate funds for settling both the Ksh.5.42 trillion external debt and the Ksh.4.83 trillion domestic debt.
Despite the KRA’s target to amass Ksh.2.7 trillion by the end of the 2023/24 financial year, the bulk of these collections are earmarked for debt servicing. Nyakango expressed concerns over the patterns of public expenditure at both national and county government levels, particularly emphasizing how recurrent expenditures are consuming significant portions of public funds. For example, 38 percent of the Ksh.3.6 trillion allocated to the national government covers salaries, allowances, and wages, amounting to Ksh.542.46 billion.
Furthermore, foreign and domestic travel expenses of State officers, despite restrictions, continue to drain public funds significantly. The National Assembly alone accounted for Ksh. 4.8 billion in local travel and an additional Ksh.1.5 billion for foreign travel. Expenditures on hospitality also remain high, with notable spending by the Office of the President and the Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission (IEBC).
Another area of concern is the rising pending bills, which have escalated to Ksh.727.74 billion, up from Ksh.685.62 billion, contradicting President William Ruto’s directive to counties for settling these bills to stimulate economic circulation.
In her recommendations, Nyakango emphasized the need for correlating existing loans with their respective projects to assess the actual value derived by the country. She also controversially suggested that the National Treasury should consider diversifying currency options for funding to alleviate the depreciating shilling’s pressure.
Nyakango’s final admonition was for the government to live within its means, advice that seems even more poignant in light of her current legal predicament.