The Controller of Budget (CoB) Margaret Nyakang'o slammed the brakes on the spending plans of the State House, 18 ministries, and various agencies, rejecting a staggering Sh47 billion of their requests made under the emergency clause between July and December 2023.

Only Sh3.29 billion, a mere fraction of the requested Sh51 billion, was approved, raising concerns about the legitimacy of the proposed expenditures.

According to Nyakang'o, the vast majority of the 31 spending requests received were deemed non-essential, justifying the rejection of nearly 93 per cent of the requested funds.

Notably, these included a Sh400 million State House request for new vehicles in July and a Sh700 million October proposal for a lavish presidential dais at the State House gardens.

Requests for financial assistance from four State agencies struggling with Sh12.6 billion in pending bills, the Ministry of Energy's Sh18.4 billion plea to stabilize fuel prices, and the Ministry of Defence's Sh200 million request for El Nino operations were all met with a resounding no.

While Article 223 of the Constitution grants the government access to additional funding for unforeseen circumstances, Nyakang'o emphasized that the approved Sh3.29 billion for the fiscal year 2023/2024 remained comfortably within the 10 per cent ceiling mandated by the Constitution.

“In the first six months of the financial year 2023/2024, the COB authorised a total of Sh3.29 billion under Article 223 of the Constitution," Nyakang'o said in the report.

"This amount was 0.07 per cent of the gross budget estimates and, therefore, within the 10 per cent ceiling set out in Article 223 of the Constitution,”

However, the rejected requests raise eyebrows regarding potentially excessive spending.

The State Department for Immigration's Sh500 million request for E-Passport booklets, which was denied, aligns with recent reports of Kenyans facing difficulties obtaining passports.

Director of Immigration Evelyn Cheluget attributed the shortage to a lack of booklets, potentially linked to the rejected funding request.

Other rejected requests included Sh16.3 million for a Cabinet Secretary's official car and a combined Sh720.4 million for the State Departments of Youth Affairs and the Arts, and MSMEs.

Nyakang'o's report serves as a stark reminder of the need for responsible public spending and underscores the importance of rigorous scrutiny for requests made under emergency clauses.

The rejected proposals raise concerns about potential misuse of funds and highlight the need for greater transparency and accountability in public spending.