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IFMIS boss silent on county budget row as it emerges matter was raised a year ago

NEWS
By Roselyne Obala | May 9th 2019
By Roselyne Obala | May 9th 2019
NEWS
Council of Governors Chair Wycliffe Oparanya (centre) addresses a press conference in Nairobi alongside Kiambu Governor Ferdinand Waititu (left) and his Murang'a Mwangi wa Iria, on Tuesday, May 07 2019. [David Njaaga,Standard]

A top official in the eye of a storm over suspect allocations in county budgets maintained Treasury Cabinet Secretary Henry Rotich will deal with the matter.

It also emerged yesterday that Stanley Kamanguya, the director of the Integrated Financial Management Information System (Ifmis) at Treasury, knew about the allocations one year ago.

Governors insist suspect items were sneaked into county budgets which include South Sudan peace process, State House affairs and Free Primary Education.

While responding to inquiries by The Standard, Kamanguya said Rotich is handling the matter, a day after the county bosses disowned the allocations totalling Sh10 billion, and demanded his resignation as well as a public apology from Treasury.

Correspondence obtained by The Standard also shows that at least one county had raised alarm over mysterious entries in its accounts on Ifmis a year ago and filed a complaint.

In a letter dated January 11, 2018, Laikipia County wrote to Ifmis department director to protest that a pullout on budget execution, from July to December 2018, indicated figures that did not relate to the county.

“Further some of the programmes and sub-programmes do not have narratives despite having some huge figures in them. This implies that the pullout is not reliable, realistic and relevant to the county,” wrote Paul Njenga, chief officer, Finance and Economic Planning. 

The county requested that the department reconciles the report so as to match the county specific expenditure to enable the county present semi-annual financial reports to the Controller of Budget and Auditor General by January 15, this year. The county sent a reminder on August 16 last year, but a response only came in February this year.

Kamanguya replied in a letter dated February 22 this year to the county in which he acknowledged the “errors.”

“After review of your report, we noted there was a configuration issue under Laikipia County in the system resulting to the errors in the reports. This has since been rectified. Please find the attached copies of the trial balance and vote book reports for the affected vote for your confirmation. Please note that the unaccounted transactions in the system should be cleared by your officers,” Kamanguya wrote.

Reached for comment yesterday, Laikipia Governor Ndiritu Muriithi confirmed the county had raised the matter with the Ifmis department.

“We are asking that the records be corrected. The accurate Ifmis printouts should be supplied to the Auditor General. The auditor should also not rely on the erroneous documents,” Muriithi said.

Laikipia is among the 11 counties whose financial records, for the 2017-2018 financial year, have the suspect budget items. Council of Governors has ordered a special audit of the same.

The controversy that came to light last week — when senators grilling Kiambu Governor Ferdinand Waititu found ‘mysterious’ allocations in excess of Sh1 billion, and which the governor disowned,  — has reignited the fight between county chiefs and the Senate. 

Hours after the governors sought 14 days leave to suspend the scheduled invites by the Senate, their plea has been rejected.

Instead, through the Committee on Public Accounts and Investment chaired by Senator Moses Kajwang (Homa Bay), the senators have warned of dire consequences should the county chiefs  fail to honour the invite.

“Failure to appear without reasonable cause will attract the consequences spelt out in Section 19 of the Parliamentary Powers and Privileges Act,” said Kajwang.

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