NAIROBI: Counties risk losing assets worth over Sh143 billion formerly managed by the defunct local authorities.
Trans Nzoia Governor Patrick Khaemba has said assets left by the defunct local governments have been grabbed and handed over to individuals who took advantage of delays in auditing county assets to assume ownership.
"Most of the assets were in form of land that had no titles. This gave unscrupulous individuals advantage to encroach. Even my offices and the county assembly land was allocated to some people," he said.
The total assets are contained in an unaudited 2013 report by the defunct Transitional Authority, which showed that when the county governments took over, the local authorities had Sh143 billion in assets and Sh62 billion as liabilities.
The report also found the local authorities had 40,815 parcels of land, 2,462 vehicles and 7,741 buildings.
Mr Khaemba said some counties have liabilities running up to Sh20 billion which would make them run bankrupt unless the national government help in settling the debts the counties inherited from local authorities.
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The governor added that the problem was created by failure of the defunct Transitional Authority to audit all assets of local authorities, which gave room to some individuals to transfer the county assets to themselves.
"Most public lands are now in the hands of private individuals like in Kitale where they grabbed the market and airstrip land. I cannot expand the facilities because I am being told to buy the land at Sh5 million yet it belongs to the public," he said.