Sh6b prisons bills illegal, audit shows

Principal Secretary State Department of Correctional Services Zeinab Hussein. [Boniface Okendo,Standard]

A team of auditors have found for the third time that pending bills amounting to Sh6.2 billion owed to suppliers by the prisons department are illegal.

A team of 40 auditors from the Treasury took 60 days to review all outstanding claims and come up with the verdict.

In a statement released yesterday by Principal Secretary for Correctional Services  Zeinab Hussein (pictured), the prisons department said it has now referred the pending bills issue to the National Treasury Pending Bills Closing Committee for verification for the fourth time.

This is after suppliers at the department faulted the latest audit which has seen the prisons department vow not to pay them.  

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“The suppliers should be patient and wait for a fourth confirmation by the National Treasury Inter Agency Pending Bills Closing Committee,” Ms Hussein (pictured) said. 

She insisted that the pending bills, which are said to have accumulated between June 30, 2009 and June 30, 2018, are irregular. She said the three Treasury audits have affirmed that.

“The findings of the National Treasury auditors was that all outstanding claims were irregular and some were illegal,” said Hussein.

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“Therefore, the department could not recommend any payments.”

When the first audit was commissioned, a special team of forensic auditors was set up to go through the outstanding claims and authenticate if they were genuine.

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The team was drawn from the Ethics and Anti-Corruption Commission, Directorate of Criminal Investigations, the State Law Office, Treasury and internal auditors at the prisons department.

“The verdict of the multi-agency task force was also that the pending bills were irregular,” said Hussein.

“The team designed a ten-point criteria and advised the state department to consider settling any future claims that met the criteria.”

Hussein added that the department communicated these audit findings to the affected parties.

The communication came following complaints from suppliers who said they are suffering because the department has refused to settle their pending bills. Some say they owe banks huge sums.

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