A State agency has refuted claims that Sh180 million was transferred to a private account.
This is after activist Okiya Omtatah petitioned the High Court to freeze a private bank account alleging that the Intergovernmental Relations Technical Committee has channeled huge sums to it.
Chief executive officer Peter Leley has dismissed the allegations by Omtatah terming them baseless and the organization can account for every penny received from National Treasury.
In his replying affidavit, through lawyer Danstan Omari, Leley said Omtatah is falsely and insufficiently equipped with the relevant information to adequately address the matters he filed.
“I can confirm that there has been no unlawful or irregular transfer of public funds amounting to Sh180 million from the IRTC deposited in the Monica Wambua’s personal account,” Leley said.
He further said that the only funds in the private account is the Daily Subsistence Allowance for Wambua which are subject to audit.
“There is and has been a proper manner as to how the monies within the institution is handled which is subjected to checks and balances,” he said.
According to court papers, the Intergovernmental Budget and Economic Council established pursuant to Section 1876 of the Public Finance Management Act 2012 approved the exercise.
This was based on valuation and transfer of public assets which paved way for the National Treasury to give IGTRC Sh180 million for the purposes of undertaking the exercise.
Leley said the committee took over the function of preparing and validating an inventory of all the existing assets and liabilities of government, other public entities and local authorities and it’s been done in three phases.
Leley said he has acted in an official capacity and not in his personal capacity.
He claimed that IGRTC is not yet a national government parastatal and, as such, not answerable to the Public Service Commission but to the Summit as envisaged in the Inter Relations Act.
The Summit is the top organ when it comes relations that are intergovernmental in nature.
“As a result of this we receive funding directly from the Treasury and not through the Ministry of the Devolution,” his affidavit said.
In court papers filed under a certificate of urgency, Omtatah says the Intergovernmental Relations Technical Committee uses the account to handle public funds.
Additionally, he says the committee has deposited huge sums of money to the account at Stanbic Bank.
Omtatah says the account exposes public money as it is not subject to checks and balances as provided for in law.
The activist says the private account belongs to Wambua and is held at CFC Stanbic Bank, Kenyatta Avenue branch in Nairobi.
Wambua is the committee’s assistant director functions and acting director corporate.
IGRTC chief executives Leley and Wambua are the respondents. The IGRTC, Ethics and Anti-Corruption Commission, Devolution PS, Attorney General and Auditor General are listed as interested parties.
Omtatah says Leley breached the Constitution and the law by diverting public funds to a personal account.
The committee is mandated to establish a framework for consultation and cooperation between the national and county governments, and amongst the county governments.
The petition states that Leley used his discretion to transfer Sh180 million received from the State Department of Devolution to Wambua’s account.
“Upon further investigation, the petitioner has established that the 1st respondent has routinely been depositing large sums of public funds in the said personal account, which is not subject to the checks and balances in law which govern public accounts to safeguard public money,” the documents state.
Omtatah says the two could have conspired to steal public funds by diverting the committee’s money to the personal account, to which the first and second respondents have exclusive and unfettered access.
“The petitioner is reasonably apprehensive that the account could also be used for money laundering given the blanket cover it is given to the personal account in the 1st respondent’s letter to the branch manager,” he says.
“The petitioner posits that it is critically important for a forensic audit of all IGRTC accounts to be conducted by the auditor general to show the flow of money from IGRTC to the personal account then to any third parties.”
He wants it frozen pending the determination of the case.
The respondents are yet to file their responses.