Millions lost by counties, says auditor
New report says governors have presided over the likely loss of billions through unsupported expenditure, ghost projects, irregular payments and faulty procurement
Governors have presided over the likely loss of billions of shillings in unsupported expenditure, ghost projects, irregular payments and faulty procurement, the Auditor General reported yesterday.
The spotlight on corruption now turns to counties at a time of mounting outrage at the plunder within the national government. The Jubilee administration and Jubilee Party are fighting back, saying corruption is a national cancer, not one restricted to the central government. Counties too are culpable, they say. The report bears this out. The Office of Auditor General Eduard Ouko yesterday was uploading to its website a massive audit report for 2014-15, county by county. The audit for Central Kenya was not immediately available.
There was no overall assessment or conclusion about the state of financial abuse in the counties.
In Homa Bay, Ouko identified at least two projects worth over Sh12 million, in which contractors have been paid but no work has been done.
Governor Cyprian Awiti of ODM paid Sh4,927,290 to construct changing rooms and VIP toilets at Homa Bay stadium.
However, audit verification on October 9, 2015 — six months after the supposed handover date of May 1, 2015 — revealed construction was ongoing.
The county also paid more than Sh8 million for the Ranen Water Pan Project. However physical verification revealed the contractor was not on site.
In Siaya county, an ODM zone, Ouko raised the red flag on procurement of air tickets; one firm was paid Sh3,769,600, another Sh2,986,130.
However, procurement procedures for identifying the air service providers and vouchers supporting the payments were not availed for audit.
“Consequently, it was not possible to confirm whether the beneficiaries actually traveled and whether the services were provided and value for money received,” the report says.
Kakamega under ODM Governor Wycliffe Oparanya is blamed for making irregular payments of Sh200 million to cane farmers in Mumia Sugar Company.
The county also spent Sh64 million for domestic and subsistence travel without accounting supporting documents.
Payment vouchers amounting to Sh13 million did not indicate the voucher number and the payee.
Payments vouchers for Sh34.7 million indicated the voucher number but not the payee, while vouchers amounting to Sh15.9 million indicated only the payee, not the voucher number.
In Kilifi county, under ODM Governor Amazon Kingi, for instance, Ouko asked why the county paid a total of Sh133.2 million through the recurrent account without using the Ifmis financial management platform as required by law.
He says the expenditure could not be confirmed, as the county finance officers failed to explain why Ifmis was not operational.
The county is at the centre of a Sh51 million graft storm. Funds allegedly were siphoned off and paid to two Nairobi-based counties using Ifmis.
Mombasa Governor Hassan Joho, an ODM star, is on the spot for operating four parallel revenue collection accounts: two accounts in KCB, one in National Bank of Kenya and another in the Cooperative Bank.
The county is also accused of using 22 bank accounts — including those for the defunct local authorities — with balances totalling Sh193.7 million.
“In the circumstances, the validity, accuracy and completeness of the balances amounting to Sh299 million as at June 30, 2015, could not be ascertained,” reads the report.
The county government is accused of failing to bank into the county revenue fund Sh165 million collected from January to June 2015.
The Public Finance Management Act requires each county Treasury ensure all money raised or received or on behalf of the county government goes into the county revenue fund.
The Auditor General also cast
doubt on expenditure amounting to Sh24.8 million to fund the Council of Governors, despite the fact that the council’s budget is funded by the National Treasury.
The amount was also not included in the approved budget estimates for 2014-2015.
In Nakuru, under Jubilee Party’s Kinuthia Mbugua, Ouko said five County Service Board members and the board secretary gobbled more than Sh3 million in overpaid salaries, which they did not earn or deserve.
“Besides drawing overpaid salaries, the gratuity payable at the expiry of the contract period is likely to be overstated,” the report states.
In Garissa, under ODM’s Nathif Jama, the county paid Sh24 million to officers attending seminars and workshops outside their duty stations, without documentation.
“No supporting documents such as bus tickets or invitation letters were attached to the payment vouchers... The nature and purpose of the journey made by the officers was also not specified, while some officers collected money on behalf of others without authority,” the report says.
According to the Auditor General, Garissa county paid Sh50 million to a company known as Fatco to prepare a spacial development plan. However, the money that was part of a Sh172 million contract, was paid three months in advance ,before any work began.
“In view of the forgoing, it has not been possible to ascertain weather the county government got value for money for project implementation and expenditure of Sh5 million,” the report says.
In Nairobi county run by ODM’s Evans Kidero, questions were raised about millions collected in parking fees and other issues.
“Parking spaces are usually always double-parked, implying that all parking slots are taken up and even exceeded, which implies revenue collected should have been more than expected revenue from all parking slots,” Ouko says.
But the county only collected Sh23 million from off-street parking lots at the Law Courts, Sunken Car park and Intercontinental, with total parking slots of 530. However, with 100 per cent occupation only, the county ought to have collected over Sh36 million from the three parking areas.
Ouko also raised questions about repaying loans exceeding Sh735 million.
According to the report, no documentation was provided for acquisition of the loan and the loans were not approved either by the county assembly or National Treasury.
“In addition, no information was availed to verify when the facilities were started, the principal amounts, interest terms and the duration of the loans,” the report states.
Mombasa Woman Rep Aisha Jumwa with Governors Amason Kingi (Kilifi) and Hassan Joho (Mombasa) at a harambee for Muslim youth in January
President Uhuru Kenyatta with county governors at State House on June 21, 2013