UN delays refunding Kenya Sh2.3bn incurred on troops fighting Al-Shabaab

The UN has delayed refunding Sh2.3 billion for Kenyan troops fighting Al-Shabaab militants in Somalia.

Treasury documents for the fiscal year ending June show that Kenya expected to receive Sh6.1 billion by the close of the year but had only received S.8 billion.

Reimbursement in the just ended fiscal year was delayed for seven months with Kenya finally receiving S.7 billion in February 2015.

The money is supposed to be reimbursed quarterly and Kenya had expected Sh2.03 billion in the quarter to September 2014 and another Sh2.01 billion in the three months to December.

The government has complained in the past about the slow pace of the refunds, which has put it under budgetary pressure.

The delays came as Kenya struggled to fund its budget in the face of a shortfall in tax collection. In the past, delay in reimbursement of the money has been linked to the UN’s insistence on proper verification of Kenya’s claims.

READ: UN offers Kenya S.7bn refund for Somalia operation

In October 2011, the country formally sent 4,660 soldiers to Somalia after incessant attacks and kidnapping by Al-Shabaab militants within its territory.

A year later, the UN Security Council gave Kenya the green light to join the African Union Mission to Somalia (Amisom), a decision that meant the Treasury would not bear the full costs of the incursion.

Amisom is an eight-year- old operation with nearly 20,000 troops from Uganda, Burundi, Djibouti, Sierra Leone and Kenya.

Amisom refunded Kenya the monies spent from the date of the UN resolution until June 2012 when it began catering for the soldiers directly.

Under the deal, Kenyan soldiers were to receive a monthly allowance of Sh88,408 ($1,028) each besides their salaries as well as comprehensive medical cover and access to aanced equipment.

Kenya has in the past used its ambassador to the UN, Macharia Kamau, to demand the reimbursements, saying that failure to refund the money was not only “unacceptable”, but also “unsustainable.”