Duale lectures Mps as he refuses to explain how KDF spent 135Billion

There was drama at Parliament when members of a Parliamentary committee tried in vain to establish how the Kenya Defence Forces (KDF) spent Sh135 billion.

This is after the Ministry of Defence declared that revealing such details equates to risk to national security.

Defence Cabinet Secretary Aden Duale refused to give a breakdown of the expenditure of how KDF spent the billions in the 2022/2023 financial year when he appeared before the National Assembly’s Committee on Defence and Foreign Relations on Tuesday.

Duale is a former MP and served as Majority Leader of the National Assembly.

Duale was adamant that he could only share the information to the National Security Council under the Chairmanship of the Commander-In-Chief.

A report laid before the committee, revealed KDF spent Sh98 billion in emoluments and salaries, Sh28 billion for operational costs of military bases including food.

The forces also spent Sh1.7 billion on maintenance of major parts and equipment, Sh1 billion on civil aid, Sh1 billion on border securitization, and another Sh4 billion on modernization of KDF equipment.

The MPs wanted the figures be unpackaged further to avoid secrecy and a possibility of embezzlement of funds.

“The information that we want, when you say modernization, we want to know what is it you bought? Are Kenyans getting value for money? We don’t want these blanket figures,” demanded Kajiado Central MP Elijah Memusi.

The MPs clashed with the CS who stood his ground on the need to disclose further information on how the money was spent.

“We want to know what an allocation of 1 year has done, where has the Ksh.135 billion been used? If it’s about modernization, tell us this is the equipment we bought and at how much…is there value for money?” Kinangop MP Thuku Kwenya posed.

The MPs wanted to know about the Sh98 billion that was used to pay salaries and allowances, even as Duale insisted that disclosing the number of army men in the country would pose a security threat.

“I can’t go further than that, its salary and allowances that we pay to our security forces that will directly effect on the national security of our country, no country wants to share the number of their forces,” Duale retorted.

“There is no Minister of Defence in Kenya who has ever disclosed the number of our army. I have never and will never disclose the number of our security personnel, the only place I can do that is in the National Security Council where the Commander-In-Chief is chairing.”

Article 153 (4) (b) of our Constitution mandates every Cabinet Secretary to present an annual performance report to the National Assembly and to the President on military accomplishments, expenditure and any other matter within our mandate.

He later sent a statement explaining the ministry effectively and efficiently discharged its constitutional obligation on defending and protecting the sovereignty and territorial integrity of the republic against any external aggression.

“I was happy to report that, in collaboration with other multi-agency security teams, the Kenya Defence Forces (KDF) has made significant steps in restoring peace and normalcy in the six North-Rift Counties affected by banditry and cattle rustling.”

“Moreover, the Ministry undertook numerous Civil-Military Cooperation (CIMIC) and Humanitarian Civic Activities (HCA) in various parts of the country as well as various infrastructural projects among them hospitals, schools and our sports complex at Langata,” he said.

The expansion and modernization is on course and is aimed at enhancing the capacity and capability of our troops in the ever-changing security landscape, he added.

“On expenditure, I informed the honourable committee that the Ministry is accountable on every budgetary allocation it receives from the exchequer and our books of account are open to the Auditor General and the Public Accounts Committee of the National Assembly to assess on the usage of public resources allocated to my ministry.”

“I reiterated my unwavering respect not only for Parliament but also other constitutional offices in the whole of the government approach,” he said.

He was accompanied by the Principal Secretary Patrick Mariru, Vice Chief of Defence Forces (VCDF) Ly Gen Charles Kahariri and other senior military and Ministry officials.