NAIROBI, March 9 (Reuters) - Kenya’s health ministry is missing 11 billion shillings ($109 million), according to the auditor general, a disclosure that will increase disquiet among international donors who spend hundreds of millions on development programmes.
Corruption in East Africa’s richest economy is a major concern for investors. Kenya ranked 143 out 180 countries in Transparency International’s 2017 Corruption Perceptions Index.
The revelations came from Auditor General Edward Ouko’s latest report, covering the 2015/16 (July-June) fiscal year, published on the organisation’s website.
The report documented discrepancies in other government departments, alleging that several failed to provide supporting documents for expenditures totalling 40 billion shillings. Kenya’s budget is 2.6 trillion shillings this fiscal year.
Health Minister Sicily Kariuki said the issue in her ministry was an accounting matter and that the finance department would respond to the auditor general.
“The team assures me there is no money lost. It’s a matter of documentation going back to 2012/13,” she told Reuters.
The missing cash had been held at some departments that were merged in 2013 but did not move into the new department’s accounts, the auditor general said in the report.
The U.S. suspended $21 million in direct aid to the health ministry last year over corruption concerns.
U.S. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson arrives in Nairobi on Friday as part of a seven-day visit to Africa. The U.S. invests more than $650 million on health in Kenya annually. ($1 = 101.0500 Kenyan shillings) (Reporting by Omar Mohammed Editing by Mark Heinrich)