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Nairobi County Assembly clerk admits to irregularly transferring Sh42 million

By Josephat Thiong'o | Jun 29th 2018 | 3 min read
By Josephat Thiong'o | June 29th 2018
Nairobi County Assembly Clerk Jacob Ngwele.

NAIROBI, KENYA: Nairobi County Assembly Clerk Jacob Ngwele has admitted he irregularly reallocated Sh42 million meant for MCAs car loans.

Ngwele told the Public Accounts Committee that he used the money to pay MCAs' salaries and imprests.

Of interest has been the fact that he transferred the money from the loans fund account to the operations account without approval of finance executive as required by law.

“I breached financial procedures. Treasury delayed releasing cash meant for salaries so I used the cash set aside for car loans to pay MCAs. However, after receiving the money from the Exchequer, I deposited it back to the loans fund account,” said Ngwele.

His questioning came after the office of the Auditor General accused him of violating the Public Finance Management (PFM) Act while transferring the funds.

Ngwele told the Wilfred Odalo-led committee the actual amount he transferred was Sh42 million and not Sh45 million as claimed.

He said the law allows his office to borrow from one account to another as long as he notifies the minister.

The Auditor General however faulted Ngwele for failing to write to the then finance executive Gregory Mwakanongo for approval before he moved the money.

Committed irregularity

“We agree that the money was returned but was there approval? You might not have committed an illegality but you definitely committed an irregularity by going against the PFM Act,” the Auditor General noted in his report.

In his defence, Ngwele cited strained relations between the assembly and the then finance executive, which he noted, delayed the approval process.

He said he only notified the finance executive of his intentions to transfer the money when he should have done it in writing and waited for approved before the transfer. He said the minister did not approve the move even after his notice. 

He however vowed to follow laid down procedures if such was to arise again.

“At the time, we had a very difficult CEC. He did not approve the transaction. We however availed detailed correspondence to the committee on how the money was spent and paid back,” he said.

Nominated MCA Sylvia Moseiya questioned why the office of the clerk took long to deposit the money back to the loans account.

“We need measures to ensure the clerk does not do what he did again,” said Moseiya. Kilimani MCA Moses Ogeto told the clerk to adhere to the PFM Act.

Irregular transfer

The team was probing a report by the Auditor General that had indicated Sh45 million was irregularly transferred to five other accounts without an explanation.

“A review of the funds cashbook revealed that the money was irregularly transferred in 2016/2017 from the fund account to various other accounts without approval of the county executive committee member for finance. Consequently, the county assembly was in breach of law,” read the report in part.

Auditor General Edward Ouko said he raised the red flag because Ngwele's action was against the Public Finance Management Act 2012.

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