The East African Community Secretariat, Lake Victoria Basin Commission and the East African Court of Justice are the main casualties of cuts proposed in the EAC budget for 2015/2016.
According to the EAC ministers who met in Arusha from March 9 to 13, the proposal to cut the budget for the three organs is a result of more scrutiny of the budget figures.
In the EAC internal audit report released recently by the East African Accounts Committee the three organs were accused of mismanaging money allocated to them.
Compared with the 2014/2015 budget ($124,069,625), next year’s budget reflects an overall decrease of 11 per cent. Out of the requested amount of $110,660,098, the EAC Secretariat will get $69,636,849 — 8 per cent less than last year.
The EACJ will get $4,301,551, a 6 per cent decrease from the previous budget while the Lake Victoria Basin Commission will get $10,137,163, which is 24 per cent less.
“The East African Court of Justice, Lake Victoria Basin Commission (LVBC) and the Lake Victoria Fisheries Organisation (LVFO) spent most of their money on activities that could have been avoided,” said the report.
The audit report stated that the EAC Secretariat overspent on some activities without seeking approval from the Council of Ministers. The most notable over-expenditure was on international air tickets and per diems, which were 300 per cent of the budgeted amount.
The EACJ is reported to have spent $116,000 on daily subsistence allowances at the rate of $350 per person for meetings to evaluate bidding documents and review the strategic plan, among other things. The meetings were held in Moshi, a two-hour drive from the duty station.
This was also the case at LVBC. The commission paid a total of $13,705 for subsistence allowance, fuel and conference cost on evaluation of tenders and pre-qualifications for 2013/2014 done in Gisambai and Vihiga, both just over 20 kilometres from Kisumu City, when they could have paid only sitting allowances had the exercise been carried out at the LVBC headquarters in Kisumu.