Edward Ouko flags 6 South Rift counties’ spending

From hiring casual workers unlawfully to deviating funds meant for development to recurrent budget, Ouko reveals unchecked wastage in counties.
Six counties in South Rift are under scrutiny for making unexplained expenditures in the 2017/2018 financial year, according to an audit.

Auditor General Edward Ouko has flagged the unsupported spending in Samburu, Bomet, Baringo, Kericho, Narok and Nakuru counties.

The counties collectively received Sh42 billion from the Exchequer in the year under review.

Beginning with Samburu County, Mr Ouko has questioned the payment of Sh40 million to Kenya Medical Supplies Agency for the supply of drugs and medical equipment.

Ouko in his report said the county administration failed to produce delivery notes, and reports proving if the goods were inspected and accepted.

As a result, it was difficult to ascertain whether the drugs and equipment were supplied.

Again, the county could not account for Sh36,919,088 paid out to various suppliers after officials failed to provide payment vouchers and other relevant documents to support the expenditure.

The county’s total expenditure for the year under review was Sh4,123,498,134. 

The report notes that another Sh1.7 million deducted from contract sums for supervision and contingencies in respect to construction and civil works, was never supported by relevant payment vouchers.

Also Sh3.6 million paid out as imprest to staff could not be accounted for.

In Bomet County, the auditor flagged payments of Sh233,474,812 for various items that were not supported by payment vouchers and other documentary evidence.

For example, the county claimed to have carried out staff training at a cost of Sh65,247,007.

However, it failed to explain what the training was all about, or prove the training actually took place.

Bomet also claims to have paid for hospital supplies and services at a cost of Sh11,451,963 but no documents support the payment.

Governor’s Lounge

Another suspicious expenditure in the county budget was the payment of Sh50,852,963 for ‘specialised materials and services’ that remain unnamed.

Some other unexplained spending include the refurbishment of county buildings at a cost of Sh1,698,000, purchase of office furniture worth Sh20,314,036 and purchase of ICT equipment at Sh17,336,347.

The county executive also awarded a contract of Sh52,000,00 for the construction of the governor’s lounge and Office.

Later, the contractor was paid an extra Sh8,857,984 after contract variation. Yet there are no minutes from the evaluation committee showing how the variation was arrived at.

Kericho county paid Sh1,027,198,000 for purchase of land for a water treatment plant but could not produce a title deed for the land.

Of the said amount, Sh102,256,00 was paid out to the National Land Commission.

“Given the circumstances, it was not possible to confirm the existence, ownership and acreage of the land,” Ouko noted.

The county also failed to provide log books for vehicles and other transport equipment it purchased at a cost of Sh 48,537,000.

In Baringo county, the management purchased a parcel of land from an individual measuring 0.0920 hectares at a cost of Sh400,000.

But it failed to produce a title deed to support the transaction.

The auditor also questioned the reallocation of Sh102,550,00 meant for various development projects to recurrent expenditure.

The county was also put on the spot for irregularly spending Sh11 million to purchase certified seeds, breeding stock and live animals.

The county executive failed to produce any documents to the auditor to support  its decision to hire casual employees.

In Narok county, a payment of Sh12 million to casual workers in the department of health could not be explained,  after the executive failed to provide the auditor with approval letters from the county Public Service Board as required by law.

The auditor further flagged Sh14 million paid out to two firms for garbage collection services without proper documents.

 “Therefore, the propriety or the expenditure of Sh14 million in respect of garbage collection services could not be confirmed,” the report stated.

The  administration also failed to account for Sh2.7 million that was disbursed to five senior staff as imprest for foreign travel.

Bank balance

In Nakuru County, Ouko casts doubts on Sh3,858,426,994 declared as bank balance at the close of the financial year.

He questions the accuracy of the figure, saying the county’s bank reconciliation statements had not been updated and reconciled.

“In the circumstance, the accuracy and validity of the reported bank balance of Sh3,858,426,994 could not be confirmed at the time of the audit,” the report stated. 

The auditor also points out that 20 bank accounts with a balance of Sh3,659,901,738 had no cash books maintained and could therefore not be verified.

Ouko points out that Sh97.8 million paid as legal fees to law firms was done against the budget allocation of Sh4.2 million to the department of Finance and Economic Planning that needed the services.

This, he said, resulted in an over payment of Sh93.5 million.

“In addition there was no approval from the Attorney General authorising engagement of private firms to offer legal services as required by section 17 of the Office of the Attorney General Act of 2012.

Ouko cites that the county wage bill increased irregularly by Sh443,861,221 in the year under review.

According to the report the increment from Sh5.1 billion to Sh5.5 billion was 44 per cent of the county total budget of Sh12.5 billion - way above the set limit of 35 per cent of the total revenue as per the law.

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County spendingCorruptionEdward OukoSouth Rift