While defending the cost of the BBI referendum on Kikuyu stations on Monday 18th January, President Uhuru Kenyatta claimed that the country was losing up to Ksh. 2 billion a day to corruption.

“I don’t know where people got the cost of Ksh. 2 billion or Ksh. 14 billion. But even so, these people are on a daily basis stealing that Ksh. 2 billion you hear people talking about. These people are deceitful,” Uhuru said.

There has been a huge debate as to how much the BBI referendum will cost the country. The Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission (IEBC) projected that the referendum would cost the country Ksh. 14 BillionActing Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of IEBC Murjan Hussein Murjan, told the Public Accounts Committee (PAC) during the scrutiny of the commissions’ books of accounts for the year to June 2019, that the amount would depend on the number of new voter registrations before the vote.

“We have on our own sat down and asked ourselves the budgetary requirements in the event of a possible referendum. We have already estimated that the referendum to change the Constitution will cost us Ksh. 14 billion. However, we are still refining the budget,” 

Meanwhile, ODM Leader Raila Odinga responded to IEBC, arguing that the cost of the referendum should not be more than Ksh. 2 Billion 

“In a country with government institutions including police stations, schools, national and county government offices, and government vehicles in every corner in addition to fairly well-developed transport infrastructure, we should be able to conduct a one ballot referendum at no more than Ksh 2 billion for 20 million voters.

President Uhuru’s comment was a response to a question on whether he knew how much the proposed BBI referendum would cost. 

BAKE fact-checking looked closely on whether it is true that the country is losing Ksh. 2 Billion per day. From the beginning, we know that corruption is rampant in the country but this is the first time the head of state has outrightly put a figure on how much the country loses through corruption every day. 

In 2016 Philip Kinisu, who by then was the Chairman of Ethics and Anti-Corruption Commission (EACC) told Reuters in an interview that Kenya was losing a third of its budget which was equivalent to about $6Billion to corruption every year.  In today’s exchange rate that is over Ksh. 660 Billion and if you break that down to per day the amount is Ksh. 1,833,683,932.25.  If the President used this amount, then it is not far off to estimate that the country loses Ksh. 2 Billion per day due to corruption. But it has to be noted that that was in 2016 and the Kenyan budget has grown and many other developments have taken place since then. 

Meanwhile, in 2018, Sunday Standard compiled from the Auditor General report the total amount suspected have been lost to corruption for a period of five years. They came to the conclusion that it was possible that the country could have lost Ksh. 5 Trillion in that period through corruption. That is Ksh. 1 Trillion per year and if you go a step further, then the amount comes to over Ksh. 2.7 Billion per day. 

The statement by President Uhuru Kenyatta that the country is losing Ksh.2, Billion shocked many, going by the reactions that we saw on Social Media. But based on our analysis it is possible that the country is losing way more than Ksh .2 Billion due to corruption.