Auditor questions millions spent by county on foreign travel, projects

Auditor-General Edward Ouko has questioned the Sh26 million expenses incurred by Tharaka Nithi in foreign travels, including trips allegedly made by the former governor and his wife.

For a Denmark bench-marking trip, the governor’s personal assistant was paid Sh1,188,380 to cater for the governor’s per diem. However, records provided did not have evidence that the governor travelled to Denmark from September 26 to 30, 2016.

Three officers were paid Sh2,022,300 to attend Tharaka Nithi County Exchange Programme in Oxford, UK. In terms of per diems, the officers were conferred an over-payment of Sh364,140.

The payroll manager was paid three imprests of Sh2,409,050; Sh468,500 and Sh986,800, all totaling to Sh3,864,350 for the UK and two other unspecified trips.

According to the audit report, no evidence of attendance of the seminar in form of attendance register, activity programme, timetable or back to office report was presented for audit.

For a seminar in Brazil that supposedly took place from April 3 to 7, 2017, up to Sh745,700 was paid to the CEC for Tourism, Water and Environment. The discrepancies totaling to this amount include overpayment of per diems and expenses for local nigh-outs.

Further, no evidence in form of copies of stamped passport, air tickets and boarding passes were made available for audit verification.

The Auditor-General also questioned irregular procurements, where the executive procured goods and specialised materials worth Sh30,711,880 and Sh63,645,900, both totaling Sh94,357,780.

According to the report, the expenditures exceeded the maximum threshold for quotations. In the circumstances, the county executive was in breach of the Public Procurement Regulations 2006 and it was not possible to ascertain whether the county got full value for the money.

In the review, irregular reallocation of funds totaling Sh94,745,945 was unlawfully reallocated. Hospitality supplies and services got an allocation of Sh9,064,904; specialised materials and services Sh47,438,400; general office supplies Sh36,117,641 and purchase of vehicles and other equipment Sh2,125,000.

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Auditor-General Edward OukoSh26 millionTharaka NithiForeign travels