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Narok MCAs' travel extravagance exposed in an audit report

By Stephen Mkawale | December 1st 2015 at 00:09:01 GMT +0300

Members of the Narok County Assembly overshot their foreign travel budget by Sh25.5million in the financial year 2013-2014.

According to a report by the Auditor General Edward Ouko, the assembly had budgeted for Sh37,600,000 but members ended up using Sh 63,154,190, which was 69 per cent of the budget.

Interestingly, most of the foreign travels were organized through learning institutions and agencies, in expenditures that the auditors found suspicious.

In one instance, the auditors noted, the assembly paid KCA University a total of Sh3,433,600, instead of paying the money directly to Singapore for conference facilitation.

"There was no report produced detailing comparisons of urban cities in Singapore against those in Kenya. In the absence of these documents, we could not confirm the propriety of the expenditure," the report stated in part.

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The report further unearthed that most of the allowances paid to MCAs who took the trips were done through officials of the county assembly who mostly failed to account for the money.

The report further noted that an official at the assembly, identified as Ms Beatrice Kadesa could not account for Sh400,000 she received as contingencies.

"At the time of the audit she had not explain how the amount was used or surrendered the money," said the report.

Twelve members of the county assembly and three members of staff also failed to account for Sh5.6million they received as per diem.

On further scrutiny of the assembly's expenditure in the year under review, the auditor noted that procurement of air tickets for the trip worth Sh2.4million from Kosen Safaris was done irregularly.

"It was not explained how the company was identified to offer the service. It was therefore not possible to confirm that the assembly received value for money in the procurement of the air tickets," the report stated.

The auditor also noted that there was not justification for members of the County Assembly Service Board to attend the training in Singapore.

In another suspicious expenditure, the assembly engaged the services of Institute of Risk Management at the cost of Sh2.7million to organize for a conference for 17 members of the assembly in Rwanda.

In the report, the auditor said there was no rationale of paying the institute to arrange a foreign training for the assembly members and staff.

"There was no report on their findings from the conference," stated the report.
The auditor further discovered that the assembly spend another Sh14million on two trips to the United States of America (USA), which were never accounted for and lacked all necessary approvals.

In the first trip that took place in February 24, 2014, Speaker Nicholas Kamwaro, Majority Leader Stephen Kudate and Mary Chelagat were paid between Sh200,0000 and Sh300,000 per diem to attend Africa Business Summit in Chicago.

The auditor noted that no receipt was provided for Sh465,675 that was paid as registration fee for the meeting.

In the second trip that was undertaken by 20 MCAs and officers to travel to USA, the assembly spend Sh11.7million, which was never properly accounted for.

Another contentious trips were to South Africa on two occasions by members that cost a total of Sh8.5million.

In respect of the two trips, the auditor noted that the money was released to one Nicholas Lenkoi as imprest but there was no schedule to indicate the members who travelled to South Africa and the purpose of the trip.

"In the absence of the documentation, expenditure of the money on the trip could not be confirmed," stated the report.

Other suspicious expenditure by members to foreign countries include travel to Israel by 18 MCAs that cost the assembly Sh11.3million, another to Hong Kong where 19 members spent Sh11million.

There were documents to support the two trip and auditors stated that the assembly might have lost the money that was released through officers who facilitated the trips.

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