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Nyanza governors on the spot over financial misappropriations

By Harold Odhiambo and Kepher Otieno | March 25th 2019

Auditor General Edward Ouko. [Photo, File]

Nyanza county chiefs have been put in a spot over questionable spending since the new administrations took over in 2017.

New reports by Auditor General Edward Ouko have revealed several discrepancies in financial management, including payment of millions of taxpayers’ money to dubious contractors.

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

In Kisumu, questions are being raised about revenue collection systems, which could be leading to loss of millions of public funds, as the county’s revenue generation fell short by about Sh262 million.

Questions are being asked about the accuracy and efficiency of some four revenue collection systems that Governor Anyang’ Nyong’o’s government has put in place.

According to Mr Ouko’s office, one of the systems generated a report that it collects about Sh35 million annually from the Kisumu County Hospital. The same system, however, indicates that Sh26 million is collected monthly.

“It was further noted that more than one revenue system was used to collect money from the same source, for instance,” said Ouko.

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According to the report, the county government inflated prices of several goods and services during the period under review and also awarded several tenders irregularly.

The funds included some Sh192 million used to buy specialised equipment for the Health sector, with reports indicating the amount used exceeded the ones the Kenya Medical Supplies Agencies (Kemsa) had been charging.

The audit report has also raised the red flag over the identities and whereabouts of assets worth hundreds of millions of shillings, which the county government inherited from the defunct local authorities. “It is not clear when the assets will be handed over to the county government,” said Ouko.

Ouko said in his audit report for the financial year ending June 2018 that assets and liabilities were not reflected in the county’s financial statements, raising questions over their whereabouts.

In his report, Ouko said the county government’s financial reports showed nil balances on assets and liabilities.

The report also questions the county’s pending bills amounting to Sh1,953,793,412.

In Migori, Governor Okoth Obado’s government operated some 128 bank accounts in different banks, with the Ouko team raising concerns over expenditure.

The county increased the amounts used to offset salaries by about Sh500 million, but failed to provide explanations for the increase. In addition, some Sh11 million was spent for hospitality and supplies but were not supported by documents.

In Gusii region, Nyamira and Kisii counties also failed to account for use of some of the funds running into millions.

In Kisii, about Sh255 million could have been spent at source after it emerged that Governor James Ongwae’s administration failed to bank it despite collecting about Sh507 million in revenues.

In Nyamira, the county failed to account for money collected from some 27 revenue streams that had been projected to raise about Sh103 million. The county recorded zero collections from the streams and only forwarded records of a few revenue streams.

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