A Kenyan ministry bought sex toys with taxpayer money, a senior member of Kenya’s Parliament told BBC News Wednesday. Nicholas Gumbo, who chairs Parliament’s pubic accounts committee, said the items, which included vibrators and a condom dispenser, appeared on a list of expenditures from the Ministry of Devolution.
Gumbo told BBC News he was shocked when he saw what was on the list. The Kenyan Parliament has been investigating the ministry and its expenses for alleged corruption, as the East African country struggles with graft and a growing budget deficit. The parliamentary committee found millions of dollars had disappeared through bizarre government spending, like $85 each for ballpoint pens, the New York Times reported.
The Devolution Ministry has been accused of spending$11.8 million on overpriced goods, including condom dispensers, stationery, photocopiers as well as a piano and television for the minister’s office, Nairobi radio station Capital FM reported. Parliament questioned Devolution Minister Anne Waiguru for nearly four hours Thursday about the corruption allegations. Waiguru, who was appointed by President Uhuru Kenyatta in 2013, denied her ministry bought a television for $19,000 or that she was involved in the purchase of a condom dispenser for $250. There was no mention of the sex toys, BBC News reported.
The embattled minister responded to the claims and “incessant media attacks” in a post on social media Wednesday. “I do not purchase anything for the ministry,” Waiguri said on her official Facebook page. “And for the record I have no such TV screen or [a] piano in my office. ”
The United States has not been silent on the issue of rampant corruption in Kenya, a vital Western ally. U.S. President Barack Obama spoke strongly against graft during his visit to the country in July.
“Here in Kenya, it's time to change habits, and decisively break that cycle. Because corruption holds back every aspect of economic and civil life. It’s an anchor that weighs you down and prevents you from achieving what you could,” he said.