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Audit reveals ‘misuse of public funds’ in counties

Auditor General Edward Ouko stress a point when he appeared before PIC at Parliament Buildings 18/06/15 [PHOTO/MOSES OMUSULA/STANDARD]

 

The Auditor General has exposed various improprieties in the county governments’ spending.

In his audit for 2013 to 2014, Edward Ouko has found faults and has recommended investigations into the anomalies or the county administrations explain.

The auditor has poked holes in the expenditure of funds in Kirinyaga, Meru, Mombasa, Baringo, Homa Bay, Nyeri, Nairobi, Kajiado, Busia and Makueni counties.

Anomalies such as failure to adhere to procurement laws, breach of Public Finance Management Act, disparities in revenue collection and the amount taken to banks and abuse of office by county executives and assemblies are cited in the reports tabled in the Senate by the Public Accounts and Investment Committee.

In Homa Bay County, Governor Cyprian Awiti is on the spot over Sh34 million whose accounting is unsatisfactory. This was in respect to restricted tendering in purchase of office furniture, construction of hostels for local polytechnic, procurement of goods and services and renovation of the governor’s office.

Mombasa Governor Hassan Joho’s administration faces queries over procurement of furniture, where Sh9.5 million was spent on suppliers who were not listed as pre-qualified, with the process done through restricted tender, without justification.

EXTRAVAGANCE NOTED

The county is also unable to account for the expenditure of Sh79 million for purchase of vehicles. The auditor discovered that there was a lower bid, quoted at Sh62.6 million, but was disqualified at the financial evaluation stage.

The government is also on the spot for spending Sh303 million to pay staff in respect of travel allowances, but documents presented to the auditor do not identify the officers paid and were not supported by any invitation letters as required by the County Government Resource Manual.

Details of extravagance in motor vehicle running expenses for county executives was also noted.

An anomaly was also noted in the manner the county administration undertakes its revenue banking, with the auditor saying Sh217 million was banked in a bank account other than the designated county revenue account.

“A further review indicated that the funds were not transferred to the county revenue fund account at Central Bank in line with the requirements of the Public Finance Management Act,” says the auditor, further citing another anomaly where the county did not bank Sh496 million in the rightful account.

Nyeri Governor Nderitu Gachagua’s administration faces questions over refurbishment of a building at a cost of Sh81 million. The auditor argues the amount was enough to put up a new building.

“No reasons were given as to why the county government had spent Sh29 million to renovate a rented building and continue paying rent for the same,” Mr Ouko says.

He further faults the governor for spending Sh213 million to purchase motor vehicles against the budgeted amount of Sh185 million, leading to an unauthorised over-expenditure of Sh28 million.

Meru County has been faulted for irregular procurement of consultancy services meant for research, feasibility studies, project preparations and design, where an expenditure of Sh25 million was incurred out of the budgeted amount.

Governor Peter Munya is also required to explain why Sh589 million was incurred o above the budgeted amount.

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