Bungoma Governor Wycliffe Wangamati is in a spot over questionable expenditure of over Sh500 million.
In an audit report for the year that ended June 2019, Auditor General Nancy Gachungu says taxpayers could have lost up to Sh505.8 million due to irregularities the county committed in breach of the Constitution, procurement and public finance regulations.
The Auditor-General has also censured the governor over irregular engagement of employees and extended probation periods.
The report, tabled in the Senate by Deputy Majority leader Fatuma Dullo, said analysis of payroll data revealed that Mr Wangamati’s government irregularly extended probation periods for 992 employees ranging from one to 30 years.
“These periods are way beyond the maximum period of nine months allowed in the human resources policies and procedure manual. No explanation has been provided as to why these 992 officers have either not been confirmed for permanent and pensionable appointments or terminated after the maximum allowed probation period," said Ms Gachungu.
She said during the year under review, the county paid salaries totalling Sh172 million using payment vouchers.
“It is not possible to determine whether there were adequate controls over the expenditure of Sh172 million. The county is therefore in breach of Section B (18) and B (19) of Bungoma County Government human resources policies and procedures manual,” she said.
The auditor has also taken issue with the engagement of temporary workers who were paid a total of Sh177.8 million as basic wages.
She said the amount included Sh53.5 million paid by 12 departments to causal workers who had been engaged for more than three months.
“Examination of records revealed that the nature of the assignment did not qualify to be classified as urgent or short-term as stated by the respective ministries,” she said.
She said Sh78.4million of the Sh177.8 million was paid to 3,268 community health volunteers at the rate of Sh2,000 each volunteer per month. The volunteers were recruited to serve in 329 community health units in Bungoma County.
The Auditor-General said a review of the recruitment process revealed that no needs assessment appeared to have been done; there was no list of applicants and shortlisted candidates; there were no notices of advertisements; no list of successful candidates; no details of location of work; and no clarity on the roles of the volunteers.
“No appraisal or evaluation reports were made available for audit review. Consequently, the county government was in contravention of Section 37 (1) (b) of the Employment Act, 2007 and Section 74 of the County Government Act 2012,” said Gathungu.