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Senators: Probe county officials over funds use

By Rawlings Otieno | Oct 17th 2019 | 3 min read
By Rawlings Otieno | October 17th 2019

Senate County Public Accounts and Investment Committee(CPAIC) Chairman Moses Kajwang(R) and Millicent Omanga where the committee issued a warrant of arrest of Machakos Governor Alfred Mutua for failure to appeared before the Committee on audit queries at Parliament on September 30, 2019. [Boniface Okendo, Standard]

Senators have recommended to the Director of Public Prosecutions and anti-graft commission to investigate various officials from 20 county governments.

Senate County Public Accounts and Investment Committee (CPAIC) in its report for the financial year 2014-2015, revealed that most county executives did not adhere to their approved budgets.

In the report tabled by chairman Moses Kajwang’ (Homa Bay), the nine-member committee noted that in most instances, funds were reallocated to items that were not budgeted for and without prior approval by the Controller of Budget.

The 20 counties are Baringo, Busia, Elgeyo Marakwet, Embu, Kajiado, Kericho, Kilifi, Kirinyaga, Kisii, Kwale, Lamu, Makueni, Marsabit, Meru, Nakuru, Narok, Nyamira, Uasin Gishu, Vihiga and West Pokot.

In particular, the committee recommends investigation and prosecution of West Pokot County officials over the construction of an office block for the Ministry of Agriculture, Livestock, and Fisheries.

Records indicate that a contractor had quoted Sh26,892,814 for the construction of the office block but the tender committee awarded the contract for Sh32,892,814 resulting in an increase in the quoted price by Sh6 million which has not been explained or justified.

“The committee observed that there was a breach of procurement laws which may have resulted in the loss of public funds and recommends that the DCI and EACC should investigate the responsible officers with a view of the recovery of the funds and prosecution of those culpable,” reads part of the report.

According to the report, there were numerous cases of under-collection of local revenue where most counties missed their revenue targets by significant margins as a result, while most counties incurred billions of unpaid bills.

In the financial year under review, the Auditor General had reported that the pending bills for all county governments amounted to Sh108.9 billion being an increase of Sh46.1 billion from the previous financial year.

“Most of the bills emanated from paying huge legal fees without a clear process of procuring the legal services, under-collection of revenue and misrepresentation own source revenue which affected the budgeting and implementation of projects,” reads the report.

The committee in its observation, noted that the own source revenue collected was banked in commercial bank accounts other than the designated revenue collection accounts – County Revenue Funds (CRF) – and used at source. 

The committee further noted that various counties irregularly procured goods and services through single sourcing, kept their records and books poorly, as well as failed to automate their accounting systems.

Human resource

During the period in review, most counties had weak human resource management, where most counties recruited staff without following due recruitment procedures in addition to absence of policy to determine optimal staffing levels.

The committee further observed that most devolved units had weak internal control systems arising from a lack of policies to guide operations and that there was no legislation or policy to address matters of staff pension.

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