Queries over Sh211m Nairobi County funds spent under Sonko

Former Nairobi Governor Mike Sonko takes a drink in his private Nairobi office on Tuesday, November 23, 2021, during an interview with The Standard. [Collins Kweyu, Standard]

The Nairobi County Government is still unable to explain Sh211 million in expenditure made outside the Integrated Financial Management System (Ifmis), raising concern that taxpayers’ money could have been lost.

This follows the county’s Select Committee on Public Accounts indicating that the payments made during former Governor Mike Sonko’s (pictured) first year in office remain unaccounted for.     

“It is true that during the year under audit, that is 2017-18, some payments were done outside Ifmis, reason being that the Assembly went fully on Ifmsi in December 2017,” says the committee in its report.

“However, all documents required within the said financial year under question have been provided, without separating what was paid on Ifmis and outside Ifmis.” 

The committee was responding to questions raised by former Auditor General Edward Ouko who flagged more than Sh300 million in irregular expenditure made by the county during the 2017-18 financial year.      

This included Sh143 million spent on goods and services, Sh92 million on employee salaries and Sh19 million in social security benefits for county employees. Mr Ouko also queried Sh89 million in imprest payments, where financial records were altered to hide glaring anomalies. “This is a recurring audit query and the assertion that the assembly was not wholly on Ifmis during the financial year under review is misleading as confirmed by the Auditor General while interrogating the report,” says the report tabled last week in the County Assembly.

According to the committee, Nairobi County Assembly was fully on Ifmis in the preceding financial years with the relevant infrastructure installed and finance officers trained. “The committee notes that making payments outside Ifmis puts at risk public funds since there are high risks of non-accountability,” it says.

Financial records indicate that Nairobi generated Sh1.4 billion in own-source revenues in the first three months of the 2021-22 financial year, - seven per cent of the Sh19.6 billion target for the financial year.

This included Sh358 million from parking fees, Sh185 million from billboards and advertising, Sh172 million from rates, Sh141 million from building permits and Sh106 million from single business permits.

The county further spent 2.5 billion on recurrent expenditure in the first three months of the 2021-22 financial year and none on development.

This included Sh1.4 billion on the County Executives, Sh923 million in transfers to the Nairobi Metropolitan Services and Sh162 million on the County Assembly.