County officials on the spot for Sh18 million in ‘secret’ account

Department of Youth, Gender, Sports, Culture, Social Services and Children executive member Marita Agufana (right) and her chief officer Wycliffe Manyulu hide from journalists as they leave the assembly after grilling. They admitted to having put Sh18 million on M-pesa account. [Eric Lungai, Standard]
Sh18 million was transferred to a mobile money account to avoid having it being returned to the Central Bank after the financial year lapsed, a county official has said.

The money was meant to help promote sports and cultural activities in the wards. The tournaments were set to commence early this month.

“We could not keep the money in the departmental account because it would have been returned to the Central Bank before we used it for the ward activities that were supposed to start immediately, but have yet to start due to some logistical problems,” said Marita Agufana, the county executive committee member in charge of youth, gender, sports, culture and social services.

She said her office placed a request through the finance office as the financial year was ending and was advised to channel the money to a mobile money account at a local bank between June 30 and July 4, 2018.

SEE ALSO :Senators: Probe county officials over funds use

She added that the money would be easily accessible as the county waited for the Government to allow it to use money for the 2018/19 financial year.

Ms Agufana was speaking when she and Wycliffe Manyulu, the chief officer, appeared before the committee on youth, gender, sports, culture, social services and children.

The committee chairman, Gisambai MCA Eric Odei, accused the department of contravening the Public Finance Act by duping the public and the Government that the money had been used, yet it was being held in a secret account.

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Nominated MCA Jackline Mwenesi said the fact that the department could not hold the money in its account and instead preferred to deposit it in a mobile money account was suspicious.  

Several MCAs chastised Agufana for writing to them a letter they termed as being ‘full of bitterness and anger’.

SEE ALSO :Ex-Siaya County bosses face Sh14m graft trial

“You are very rude to the committee as communicated in the letter that you wrote to us, yet you want to hold activities in the wards where we represent the people who elected us,” said Wodanga MCA Vincent Atsiaya.

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