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Auditor queries illegal expenditure by counties

By Patrick Beja | January 25th 2019

Several counties flouted the law by increasing expenditure on allowances and incurring other costs by holding meetings outside their domains.

According to the latest report from the office of the Auditor General, apart from the allowances, the counties paid to hire conference facilities away from their offices, costs which could have been avoided.

The report was published in December last year, and covers the 2016/17 financial year.

Nyandarua County Assembly, for instance, is shown as having spent Sh16 million in allowances paid to MCAs for meetings held outside the assembly to discuss pending bills. The county assembly also spent Sh7.6 million to hire conference facilities for various committee activities.

This expenditure, according to Auditor General Edward Ouko, contravened the law and was an imprudent use of public funds. Besides the allowances, Dr Ouko questioned the spending of Sh27 million on the construction of a perimeter wall and a gate at the county assembly.

In Nakuru County, the Auditor General established that despite a bio-metric system being used to identify and monitor attendance of various committee meetings, some MCAs were paid despite not attending meetings.

Biometric system

Ouko said some members would sign in, and within minutes, sign out. In some cases, members clocked in and later there was no proof of them signing out.

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“The audit also observed that despite installation of the bio-metric system, in most cases, meeting attendance continued to be recorded manually,” the report read.

“This was wastage of public funds and a breach of financial regulations.”

The report further questions the payment of Sh6 million on June 30, 2017 to the Kenya Prison Service for the supply of 78 desks, a speaker’s seat and 50 public gallery seats.

On average the county assembly spent Sh46,000 per gallery seat. By the time of the audit, only 58 office desks had been delivered, despite full payment being made.

In Samburu County, the assembly is alleged to have spent Sh4 million to attend a women’s caucus in Ethiopia between January 29 and February 2, 2017.

However, it was noted that the expenditure was not supported by relevant documents like invitation letters and other evidence showing that the officers actually attended the training, which was held at the Institute of International Education.

Sh5.5m on allowances

In Baringo, the assembly is alleged to have spent Sh5.5 million on allowances for MCAs who participated in sporting activities. The money was also used to pay for them subscriptions in various sporting associations.

The audit showed that the expenditure was irregular and against the law.

“The expenditure was incurred in contravention of Section 138 of the Public Finance Management Act 2012, which says grants are intended to finance development projects or delivery of services,” the report noted.

Narok County is said to have spent Sh24 million on domestic travel and another Sh12 million on foreign travel.


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