Auditor paints a different picture of Machakos County

Machakos Governor Alfred Mutua. [PHOTO: STANDARD/FILE]
By MOSES NJAGIH

NAIROBI, KENYA: The Auditor General’s report into the affairs of Machakos County has revealed irregularities in procurement procedures and possible embezzlement of millions of shillings.

The Auditor General cites alleged financial improprieties committed by the Governor Alfred Mutua’s administration, including some directly implicating him.

Mutua has been publicly hailed over the manner he has been running the county.

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But now the governor will be hard-pressed to deflect the negative publicity that will come from the auditor’s depiction of Machakos as reeling under financial irregularities and demands surcharging of those culpable.

The report is, however, quick to point out that the handing over and taking over of assets and liabilities from the defunct local authorities and councils was not done as expected because the Transition Authority did not guide the process.

The report prepared between January and June 30 last year, claims Dr Mutua incurred a Sh7.5 million “confidential expenditure” whose payment vouchers were not supported by any documentation.

Monday, Mutua did not return our calls to his mobile phone number as we sought his response to the allegations in the report.

The auditor is also questioning the use of Sh2.9 million of public funds towards the funeral expenses of the late Makueni Senator Mutula Kilonzo, where Sh1 million was given to Mutua to offer as contributions.

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The Auditor General’s office is querying the use of the money, given the late Mutula was the senator of Makueni and not Machakos.

ADDRESS SYSTEM

Also singled out by the auditor is the payment of another Sh1 million to Homeboyz Entertainment Ltd, allegedly for provision of public address system during the funeral.

According to the auditor, the function was attended by the Head of State and thus the public address system was provided for by the Presidential Press Services “thus putting the integrity of the Sh1 million paid for the service to question”.

“The expenditure of Sh2.9 million is an irregular one and the culpable officers should be surcharged for the apparent loss in a nugatory expenditure of public funds,” states the auditor in his damning report.

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The report also points out Sh154,000 payment to a doctor as imprest for baiting stray dogs in Machakos town and its environs.

On the Sh7.5 million “confidential expenditure” where Mutua is indicated as the payee, the auditor states that the amount was not accounted for and thus his office could not confirm if it was lawful.

The auditor’s report also punched holes into the procurement and purchase of 16 second-hand vehicles for county executives costing Sh32. 9 millions, saying there were no inspection reports, which were provided for audit verification, among other irregularities.

“These vehicles were imported and registered in different individual names, though supplied by one dealer, a clear indication that the dealer did not have the capacity to supply but acted as an agent to various owners,” states the report.

Further, the auditor says the vehicles were fitted with private registration numbers and by the time of writing the report, the same had not been transferred to the county government, and were thus prone to misuse or even theft.

GOODS AND SERVICES

Dr Mutua’s administration is further accused of irregularly recruiting 156 employees, who incur the county Sh13 million per month in wages. They were allegedly hired without the positions being advertised or the involvement of the County Public Service Board, which had not been constituted. The report also unearths irregular procurement of goods and services for the Machakos County Investors Conference at Maanzoni, where an expenditure of Sh10.5 million was incurred.

Editor’s Note:  More stories on what the Auditor General says of other counties will be published this week.

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Machakos County Alfred Mutua