According to documents obtained by ChimpReports, information pills Mfumukeko wrote an internal memo on March 11, 2016, saying his new appointment needed “relevant skills to better deliver on the mandate.”
He requested to undertake training on IT Support Tools for Operational Planning and Change Management tenable at Management and Engineering Services for Excellence in Africa.”
He further said in the memo that the training sessions “shall take five days each i.e. module I from 15th to 19th March 2016; and Module II from 21st to 25th March 2016.”
He added: “The purpose of this memo is to seek approval to attend the above programme. The budget for the training will be charged under the Partnership Fund.”
ChimpReports understands the trip was endorsed hence Mfumukeko’s departure to France for the course.
But the cost of the trip has since raised dust at EAC Secretariat with some officials condemning the lavish spending.
The Deputy Secretary General, Dr Enos Bukuku wrote in a memo to the EAC, wondering why Mfumukeko went for another course yet he had received a comprehensive “Management Training” course before assuming the powerful position.
He asked: “Was this activity in the budget for fiscal year 2015/2016? Where did the funds come from?”
Executives are political appointees by the Summit of EAC Heads of State.
“How many other SGs and DSGs have ever been sent to attend management training courses? Do we send the executives secretaries who head our EAC institutions on such similar Management Training?” asked Bukuku.
The revelations have since raised concerns about possible abuse of EAC funds at a time the coffers are running dry and member states calling for frugality.
Tanzanian president John Pombe Magufuli recently warned EAC against lavish spending of resources contributed by poor people in the community.
In response, Mfumukeko told ChimpReports that he was given the job on March 2, 2016 with the appointment taking effect on April 25, 2016.
“So I had 1 month and a half before getting started. I decided to prepare well for the new functions. As anyone at EAC, I identified a firm which provided training in Change Management, and planning and Project Management (including MS Project software),” said Mfumukeko.
“So we are not talking about computer courses … Also, I requested a 45-day coaching on change management at EAC; that shows on all documents.”
On the choice of France, which is thousands of miles away yet he could attend such a course within East Africa, Mfumukeko responded: “Being a French speaker, I of course chose France, a place I know very well.”
He further said he applied for the course as any other EAC employee and that his training was approved by then Finance Director, Njoroge.
He also confirmed that the training was conducted at 600 km away from where his two elder children live (Bordeaux) in France.
“I attended the program, I was assisted for 45 days, I received certificates and the total cost including my DSA was $20, 800,” said Mfumukeko.
“So what is really the problem with that training? Dr Bukuku has gone as far affirming that I did not attend the training and went to Canada; but my passport is there, I went only to France, and stayed in the same hotel during my stay in France,” he emphasised.
However, Bukuku also questioned the legitimacy of the process that saw Mfumukeko pick $20,000 from EAC coffers, wondering how the Principal Resource Mobilisation Officers can ‘mobilise’ and also ‘allocate’ funds.
“In EAC partner states, Revenue Authorities collect revenues but do not also allocate them. This situation in the EAC calls for a forensic audit of the partnership Fund by an independent audit firm.”
Mfumukeko defended his course, saying, “We have spent very often over $20,000 or $30,000 for consultancies of 1 month or less with firms based in East Africa.”
Documents obtained during our investigation show that this is not all.
Minutes of the 35th Meeting of the Council of Ministers (March 30-4 April, 207) indicate that the senior officials from partner states were shocked by the status of the General Reserve Fund as at March 6, 2017.
While Mfumukeko found the General Reserve Book Value as per financial statements of June 30, 2016 at $11m, the current status of the same as at June, 3, 2017 was just a miserable $19,063.
The Council noted that the “funds received were not deposited in the General Reserve Fund account before being extended as required by the Rule 32 (1) of the EAC Financial Rules and Regulations (2012).”
The Council also observed that funds amounting to $192,000 were advanced to the FSDRP Project contrary to provisions of the EAC Financial Rules and Regulations (2012).
It was also discovered that there was “need for a detailed investigation into the utilisation of funds within the secretariat and as such the EAC Audit Commission be tasked to undertake audit on the General Reserve Fund and the general budget framework.”
The Council further directed the Secretariat to cause the Audit Commission to “undertake a special audit of the Reserve Fund maintained by the EAC Secretariat and the general budget framework by June 2017 and report to the 36th meeting of the Council.”
The outcome of the audit will guide EAC leaders on the way forward, especially on the future of Mfumukeko at the regional body.