16 July 2009 | Jake Kanter
Kenyan government buyers are to be dismissed after purchasing eight luxury cars for the president.
Permanent secretary at the Ministry of Finance, Joseph Kinyua, said this month the procurement officers involved would lose their jobs for failing to comply with government rules aimed at cutting costs, according to state media service the Kenya Broadcasting Corporation. It is not known how many buyers will be fired.
The cars, including a Mercedes and three Toyotas, cost about 40 million Kenyan shillings (£315,349) and were acquired without President Mwai Kibaki's agreement.
According to allAfrica.com the purchases were made as part of a last-minute spending spree in June. Buyers rushed to let contracts in a bid to avoid underspend being cut from their budgets for the next financial year (International news, 25 June).
And the spending came despite the Kenyan government's efforts to reduce costs in order to prioritise the provision of food and water for citizens.
In a joint statement the president and first lady, Lucy Kibaki, said the cars were bought without their authority and would be returned.
"State House will support austerity measures announced by the minister for finance in a freeze of the purchase of new vehicles. As an immediate measure we are ordering the return of the eight vehicles that were purchased without our knowledge," they said. "It is critical all departments seek ways of ensuring they adhere to measures that cut government costs. It is also important government projects are completed on time and cost effectively,"