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EACC report paints grim picture on county's financial management

NEWS
By Kamau Maichuhie | Feb 21st 2019 | 3 min read
By Kamau Maichuhie | February 21st 2019
NEWS

Kiambu Governor Ferdinand Waititu (second left) receives a Corruption Risk Assessment (CRA) report of the county from EACC Vice-Chair Sophia Lepuchirit at Thika county offices. Looking on is County Assembly Speaker Stephen Ndicho (extreme left). [Photo: Standard]

 

Fresh details have emerged painting a grim picture of the crippling financial mismanagement in Kiambu County.

A new report by the Ethics and Anti-Corruption Commission (EACC) has revealed the gross mismanagement, beginning with the county’s 28 bank accounts, held in different banks, whose details remain vague even to investigators.

According to an assessment by the anti-graft investigators, chief officers responsible with keeping records of some of the accounts could not produce the records.

Departmental accountants who were to keep their chief officers financially informed, that is by forwarding reports including cashbooks for approval and filing, were not doing so.

On top of the vagueness of the bank accounts, EACC also faulted Kiambu County for not following proper procedures when appointing bank signatories.

Instances where the county effected changes in the operations and management of bank accounts, including appointing signatories without following procedures outlined in the law, were noted.

The procedures require that any changes to the operations and management of bank accounts be authorised by accounting officers.

The report which was presented to the County Executive by the Deputy Director in charge of corruption prevention at EACC Emily Chege also questioned the county’s revenue collection and spending.

For example, Between July 1 2016 and December 8 of the same year, the county collected Sh321 million in revenue, compared to Sh185 million that was collected in  a similar period in 2017.

EACC noted the significant Sh136 million decline in revenue which had a bad implication on budget planning.

The assessment captures both former governor William Kabogo and his successor Ferdinand Waititu tenures.

 Revenue streams

EACC also noted that some revenue collection streams were not automated, which led to losses of revenue especially where reports were not prepared daily to monitor how the money was banked.

“The governor and the accounting officers are advised to ensure that the county’s revenue collection systems for all revenue streams are automated. This is in order to enhance tracing of all revenue collected and protect it from loss,” read the report.

The report has also put under sharp scrutiny how casuals handle revenue. The team said they found out the county had deployed casual employees to collect revenue from various sources including hospitals facilities.

The findings indicate that for instance, in Thika Level Five hospital, casuals were engaged in collecting revenue.

“Deployment of casual employees in revenue collection areas is a weakness that may lead to loss of revenue without the possibility of recovery since it is difficult to insure revenue handled by a casual or to hold them accountable in the event of embezzlement,” reads part of the report.

EACC vice-chair Sophia Lepuchirit who handed over the report to Governor Ferdinand Waititu gave the county 14 days to come up with an implementation plan of recommendations made by the agency.

Ms Lepichirit called on the executive to tighten the existing loopholes that employees may take advantage of to steal from the public.

EACC warning

“I am appealing to the county government of Kiambu to be effective, responsible and fair in service delivery to its people,” she said.

Vincent Okong’o the director in-charge of corruption preventive services who represented the commission secretary warned the county executive that the commission will pounce like a tiger on any person who is involved in corruption.

Waititu thanked EACC for their recommendations and vowed to set up an implementation committee immediately in order to rectify on areas that had been singled out.

He cautioned county employees that EACC was on the lookout as far as corruption was concerned, and said that every worker will be held personally liable.

“I want to caution workers that EACC is on the lookout. Everybody will be held liable for the mistakes that they do. We are ready to implement the recommendations,” said Waititu.

On revenue automation, Waititu said the county has partnered with Strathmore University to automate other revenue streams that are not yet automated.

This, he said, will ensure any existing loopholes are sealed which will help to safeguard loss of revenue at the hands of county employees.

The governor said the county government will put in place measures to act on recommendations by the EACC.

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