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Judiciary on the spot as team probes 15 State institutions over audit discrepancies

NATIONAL
By Harold Otieno Odhiambo | September 14th 2021

Judiciary building, June 4, 2021. [Elvis Ogina, Standard]

A parliamentary committee has pitched tent in Western Kenya to investigate 15 government institutions that have been a subject of audit queries.

The main focus of the National Assembly’s Public Accounts Committee, however, is on the Judiciary where a number of dealings in a number of courts have raised eyebrows of the Auditor General’s office and parliament.

The group is also accompanied by experts from the Ministry of Finance as well as auditors from the office of the Auditor General’s office.

The development comes amid claims that the improvement of infrastructure of some of the courts could have led to the loss of millions of taxpayer’s money as well as misuse of donor funds.

There are also claims that some of the contractors who built some courts have been demanding pay despite not completing works appropriately.

Yesterday, members of the committee led by Rarieda MP Otiende Amollo told journalists that there are a number of queries in the Judiciary that they hope to find answers to.

According to Otiende, the completion of the construction of buildings in some of the court stations raises a lot of questions.

“Most of the courts were built by funds from World Bank. However, there are mixed results. Some courts have been done well while others were not well built,” said the legislator.

Among the courts that are on their radar include Nyamira, Kakamega, Oyugis and Siaya law courts that have been undergoing infrastructural uplifts. They will also visit three other courts.

In Siaya, the construction of a new Sh340 million building to house the High Court is in its final stages and is among the projects the group is keen on to monitor progress and establish how public funds were used.

In Kisumu, the children’s department is among entities within the department of social protection that the committee is seeking answers from in regards to a number of issues.

Yesterday, the group visited Kisumu Rehabilitation Home that has been a subject of audit queries for the last 12 years over failure by authorities to secure its title deed.

“It is our duty to ensure that anywhere public funds have been spent there is accountability and where it appears it is not well spent then we must hold specific officers accountable,” said the committee.

According to Otiende, the money that was spent to improve the infrastructure in some of the court stations does not mirror what is on the ground.

Some of the courts have already been opened and are serving the public and it remains to be seen whether the move by the parliamentary group will unearth more flaws in their upgrade.

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