Sonko begins investigating millions Kidero spend on beautification of city

City residents walking on a section of Uhuru Highway that had been planted with grass by former governor Evans Kidero. [File, Standard]
Members of the county assembly have started investigating how City Hall spent Sh48 million on a beautification exercise ahead of President Barack Obama's and Pope Francis’s visit to Kenya in 2015.

The Auditor General has revealed a Sh48 million overdraft in one of City Hall’s Co-operative Bank accounts. The county public accounts committee is seeking to establish the expenditure of the money that was not captured in the budget and shed light on exactly what was procured to inflate the bill to Sh48 million.

“The committee needs to be furnished with details on whether the money was captured in the budget and who authorised the expenditure of the said money,” stated Kilimani MCA Moses Ogeto.

On Thursday last week, the Wilfred Odala-led Public Accounts Committee questioned City Hall’s finance department on why the county undertook the exercise twice, citing waste of public resources. It was concerned that by withdrawing more than the county had in its account, it attracted many charges in the form of interest, which continue to haunt the city do date.

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“Who determines whether beautification of the city was necessary? I do not understand why the environment department felt the need to re-do the exercise yet the city had already been beautified,” argued Kwale South MCA, Rose Oganda.

The county finance chief officer, Ekaya Alumasi, however, defended the expenditure, saying the county had received authorisation to spend Sh60 million by the National Treasury on condition that it would be paid back as a grant.

“We got authorisation from the national government to spend the money and it was to be refunded,” observed Alumasi.

He further explained that the money was not captured in the budget, but payment of the beautification contractors had been prioritised to ensure a scenic world-class city ahead of Obama’s historic visit. 

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