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

The Star (Kenya) - - Front Page - FELIX OLICK AND JAMES MBAKA @TheS­tarKenya

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

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Pres­i­dent Uhuru Keny­atta with county gover­nors at State House on June 21, 2013

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