Auditor questions unexplained spending in Migori, Homa Bay

Auditor General Nancy Gathungu. [Samson Wire, Standard]

Migori and Homa Bay counties have been flagged by the office of the Auditor-General over suspicious spending of millions of shillings.

Auditor General Nancy Gathungu said the two counties had no documents supporting payments made for services. Ms Gathungu’s 2020-21 audit report shows a decline in the collection of local revenue as well as unexplained expenditure.

In Migori, the audit flagged a Sh1.3 billion balance for eight accounts operated by Governor Okoth Obado’s administration despite a statement on assets and liabilities indicating that the balance is Sh1.7 billion.

Ms Gathungu says the accuracy of the balance could not be confirmed by auditors after the county failed to provide certificates of eight bank accounts.

The county government could also not explain the reason behind the spending of Sh61.8 million on legal fees. The notes that accompanied the payment could not explain the exact work that was done to warrant the payment.

Another Sh61 million that was paid to the Kenya Medical Supplies Agency for pharmaceuticals was flagged after the county failed to confirm if the products were actually supplied.

Migori Governor Okoth Obado. [Sammy Omingo, Standard]

“Inspection and acceptance reports and counter receipt vouchers from beneficiary facilities were not provided to confirm receipt of goods. Consequently, the validity of the expenditure of Sh61 million could not be confirmed,” Ms Gathungu said.

The audit has also poked holes in the under-collection of locally generated revenue from several sectors and opined that ineffective collection procedures and systems could have resulted in the under-collection.

In the Health department, the devolved unit fell short of meeting its target by Sh30 million against a target of Sh58 million.

The bus park which acts as the county’s gold mine in its quest to boost local revenue collection registered an under-collection of Sh3.3 million. The mining industry which is also the backbone of the county’s income also registered an under-collection of Sh4.4 million. Only Sh504,000 was collected against a target of Sh5 million.

The developments come at a time when revenue officers have been faulted for deliberately pocketing some of the payments, despite the county automating revenue collection.

Ms Gathungu also flagged some Sh15 million that was paid to a local insurance company for the insurance of motor vehicles. The report indicated that the validity of the payments could not be confirmed.

This is after the county government failed to provide any valuation report to back the payments. The devolved unit also irregularly paid 731 workers Sh169 million through the manual system.

Homa Bay Governor Cyprian Awiti. [Collins Oduor, Standard]

In Homa Bay, Governor Cyprian Awiti’s administration is at pains to explain several discrepancies in the expenditure of millions of shillings. Some of the payments, including salaries, were executed outside the Integrated Financial Management Information System.

Among the key issues that raised eyebrows include the decision to manually pay some employees Sh238.5 million. This is despite the requirement by counties to pay all employees through the Integrated Payroll and Personnel Database. The auditor claimed the process adopted by Governor Awiti’s administration was prone to errors.

“The accuracy, validity and completeness of the expenditure of more than Sh238 million in respect of compensation of employees processed manually could not be confirmed,” Ms Gathungu said.

The decision by the county to commit some Sh81 million towards road construction has also raised queries after they failed to provide corresponding tender documents. During the audit, officers from the devolved unit failed to provide auditors with the relevant documents to back the payments for the projects.