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Controller of Budget puts brakes on Kisii assembly's expenditure

 Controller of Budget Margaret Nyakang'o. [Elvis Ogina,Standard]

The Controller of Budget (CoB) has asked the anti-graft agency to investigate the request for approval to withdraw alleged illegal payments by Kisii county assembly officials.

CoB Margaret Nyakang'o says she was constrained to accept the request for approval to withdraw funds for payment of per diem and transport for MCAs and select staff attending East Africa County Assemblies (EACASCA) games.

In a letter dated February 8, 2023, addressed to the Kisii county Chief Officer of Finance and Economic Planning and the assembly Clerk, Dr Nyakang'o says the Office of the CoB had received an anonymous complaint on the planned withdrawal.

The select staff and MCAs were to attend the EACASCA games in Kisumu between January 26, 2024 and February 2, 2024.

"The request complaint was that the assembly was in the process of incurring wasteful expenditure by authorising all members of the County Assembly to attend the games without being invited," reads the letter in part.

According to Nyakang'o, upon receipt of the requisition and supporting documents, her office noted that the invitation letter dated January 18, 2024, was specific to certain members attending the event.

The letter had invited the Chairperson of the Sports Committee and one member of staff- the CASA Sports Coordinator in charge of coordinating CASA activities in the county, and one participant in playing golf.

The invitation was extended to only four people.

"You have attached an internal memo dated January 16, 2024, seeking approval for all members of the County Assembly and select staff to attend the festivals. The Memo has been marked approved for travel."

"Article 201 (d) places a duty on all Public officers to ensure prudence and responsible use of public funds. The action of attendance of 83 persons to the festivals instead of the invited four amounts to wasteful expenditure. Section two of the Public Finance Management Act defines wasteful expenditure as an expenditure that was incurred which could have been avoided and due care and diligence been exercised," reads the letter.

The CoB wrote that in line with the prudent and responsible use of public funds under section five of the Controller of Budget Act and mandate under Article 228 (5) to ensure that all withdrawals are as per the law. 

"Your requisition does not meet the threshold of compliance in light of the current matter's contravention of the law. Further, this matter is referred to the Ethics and Anti-Corruption Commission and Office of the Auditor General for further investigation and action," reads the letter.

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