Counties on the spot over financial mismanagement

Auditor General Edward Ouko

Nyanza county chiefs have been put on the spot over gross mismanagement of public resources during the months preceding last year’s General Election.

A new report by Auditor General Edward Ouko has unearthed flaws in financial management in all the six counties in the region.

Mr Ouko has raised concerns over how public funds were used by the former Kisumu County regime led by Jack Ranguma.

So dire were the malpractices that the county government operated about 112 secret bank accounts, all which were not disclosed in financial statements presented for audit.

In addition, the county government also failed to present bank statements for other six bank accounts with balances of about Sh19.8 million.

Ouko has also raised concerns over the failure by the executive to collect about Sh1.2 billion in some 23 revenue streams that had been projected. Ranguma’s government failed to explain why the revenue was not collected.

In the past few years, the county’s local revenue has been dropping steadily despite both former governor Ranguma and his successor Anyang' Nyong’o sealing loopholes that led to the loss of revenue.

The government has also been put on the spot for promoting tribalism in appointments contrary to the National Cohesion and Integration Act, 2018, section 7(1).

“The payroll statistics revealed that 97 per cent of the employees were from the dominant ethnic community of Kisumu County,” said Ouko.

Documentary evidence

Some of the payments reportedly made by the counties were also not supported by any documentary evidence.

The report indicates that other payments totaling Sh95 million were not supported by payment vouchers, casting a doubt on their validity.

Ouko placed other five Nyanza counties on the spot for unexplained expenditures.

In Homa Bay County, Sh379 million was irregularly transferred to other departments and the County Assembly by the executive.

Furthermore, Cyprian Awiti’s government also paid some Sh3.9 million to a contractor who did not do any work.

In Migori County, several important financial and procurement documents could have been lost after fire razed the procurement office.

According to Ouko, the office was located in a temporary structure made of timber and iron sheets. Investigations by detectives into the fire incident did not result into any convictions.

“Consequently, the accuracy and completeness of the figures in the financial statements could not be confirmed in the absence of records destroyed by the fire,” read the report.

Last October, Ethics and Anti-Corruption Commission detectives launched investigations against Governor Okoth Obado over claims that he had transferred Sh2 billion from the county’s coffers.

The governor allegedly abused his position to steal public funds through companies registered by his relatives.

In Siaya, the Auditor General has raised queries over some Sh947 million for the construction of roads. In some of the roads, the county government paid money for incomplete work.

In Kisii, Governor James Ongwae's government has been criticised over poor collection of revenue with the report indicating that there were leakages in collections.

The county also spent about Sh432 million for domestic travels, which Ouko notes was as a result of illegal borrowing.

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