Taxpayers could have lost more than Sh231 million in unapproved spending on the construction of the High Commissioner’s residence in South Africa, an audit has revealed.
The audit report tabled yesterday in the National Assembly by Auditor General Nancy Gathungu shows that the Ministry of Foreign Affairs spent Sh440 million on the construction of the envoy's residence in Pretoria. The figure was above the approved limit of Sh207 million.
“As previously reported, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs expenditure estimates for 2017-18 reflected a development budget of Sh207,786,133 for the Kenya High Commission in Pretoria in respect of the construction of the High Commissioner’s residence and staff houses,” reads the report.
A review of expenditure records shows that payments amounting to Sh439,635,853.55 were made to the contractor for the construction works in the 2017-18 financial year. This resulted into an unapproved expenditure of Sh231,849,740.55 above the approved budgeted limit of Sh207,786,113.
“To accommodate part of the expenditure that was not budgeted for 2017-18, management irregularly made a prior year adjustment of Sh221,020,794,” adds the report. The ministry is also in a spot for irregular variation of contracts in the refurbishment of its offices at its headquarters in Nairobi.
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The ministry had planned to spend Sh14 million in sprucing up the offices but varied the contract cost to Sh18 million, causing taxpayers a possible loss of more than Sh3 million.
“In 2018-19, the ministry contracted a firm to renovate offices at its headquarters at a contract cost of Sh14,925,045. However, the contract price was varied to Sh18,141,407,” states the report. The increase went beyond the allowed 15 per cent which is illegal.