By the Star
PRESIDENT Uhuru Kenyatta is understood to have exhausted his travel funds, triggering a crisis in State House spending only four months into the financial year.
On official duty the President does not use his personal cash. All the President’s travels are funded by the State, which also pays for civil servants in his entourage.
The apparent cash-flow problem emerged during his weekend visit to the United Arab Emirates, towards the end of the trip.
Reliable sources said that the Ministry of Foreign Affairs was forced work with the Central Bank and wire funds into the accounts of the Kenyan embassy in the UAE.
It is unclear how many people were in the presidential entourage, but indications are there were more than 20, including Treasury Secretary Henry Rotich, Foreign Secretary Amina Mohammed and government spokesman Manoah Esipisu.
“There was a crisis in the presidential team. We do not know if the President knew, but we have had to quickly mobilise some cash and send it to a Dubai account belonging to our embassy in UAE,” our source said.
Yesterday Esipisu denied the allegations, insisting that all the President’s trips are budgeted for.
â€œWhat type of rubbish is that?â€ Esipisu thundered, speaking to the Star on the phone. â€œThe President is the Head of State of a country and all his trips are budgeted for.”
He however said that it was only the the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, headed by Ambassador Amina, that could comment authoritatively on Uhuru’s cash allocations for foreign trips.
Mohammed was away from her office most of the day and her mobile telephones were off. Permanent Secretary Karanja Kibicho also did not answer his calls and his secretary said he was away from his office in meetings.
Comptroller of State Houses Lawrence Lenayapa did not answer his phone or return our calls.
Uhuru is Kenya’s most travelled President, having made 28 foreign trip in his first year in office, beginning April 2013.
This financial year, which kicked off in July, Uhuru has made 13 foreign trips in five months, which are said to have exhausted the travel funds.
He has been to UAE, Zambia, South Sudan (twice), Ethiopia (twice), The Hague, Rwanda (twice), the US (twice), Equatorial Guinea and Uganda.
The Presidency was allocated Sh3.4 billion as recurrent expenditure in this year’s budget, with Sh1.9 billion going to State House operations.
The Presidency comprises State House, the Office of Deputy President William Ruto and the Cabinet Affairs Office.
The Presidency facilitates the operations of the Executive Office of the President (Uhuru’s office) in executing its constitutional mandate.
Yesterday the President had a busy day. From presiding over the start of the Sixteen Days of Activism on Violence Against Women initiative, to chairing a National Security Council meeting to receiving the Deputy Prime Minister of the Slovak Republic, Miroslav Lajcak.
Uhuru met his top security advisers at State House, Nairobi, to discuss the recent Mandera Massacre.
The President, who returned on Tuesday night from an official visit to Abu Dhabi, was briefed on the cross-border operation into Somalia by the Kenya Defence Forces following the mass murder.
Action plans were discussed aimed at deterring future attacks by terror groups and organised criminal gangs.
Suspected al Shabaab militants attacked a Nairobi-bound bus in Mandera near the Kenya-Somalia border on Saturday morning, killing 28 passengers.