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Nakuru county sets up committee to audit pending bills

During the 2020/2021 financial year, the county assembly had only approved Sh200 million to settle some of the bills. [iStockphoto]

Nakuru county government has embarked on audit of pending bills for the last two financial years.

Acting Nakuru County Secretary Samuel Mwaura said that the Pending Bills Committee had been tasked to verify the bills with a view of making recommendations for payment or otherwise.

“The committee is authenticating the pending bills for the financial years 2020/2021 and 2021/2022 with a view of making recommendations for payment or otherwise,” said Dr Mwaura.

In an advert in local dailies, the County Secretary instructed all suppliers, contractors, and other service providers to submit certified copies of their claim documents by December 19, for verification.

“At the moment we cannot give a final figure of how much the county owes the suppliers and contractors. The committee shall give a conclusive report next month,” said Mwaura.

He pointed out that some of the pending bills date back to the period of the defunct municipal council which at the time of transition in 2013 to devolution had been set at Sh865 million.

“We want to ensure that the genuine claims are settled to allow for the continuity of businesses and boost the local economy. This is nothing out of the normal for any administration,” said Mwaura.

The pending bills inherited from the defunct municipal council were settled leaving a balance of Sh483 million which the county said they could not verify the authenticity of the claims.

Audit exercise conducted when former Governor Lee Kinyanjui took over in 2017 indicated that the county had pending bills amounting to Sh3 billion.

The audit report released in 2018 revealed that Sh2 billion of the inherited bills were ineligible but were partly paid off in the subsequent years after fresh verification.

As of June, the Commission on Revenue Allocation had listed Nakuru as the county with the second highest ineligible bills amounting to Sh2 billion.

Some of the bills were however verified in the run-up to the August 9 General Election and paid up.

During the 2020/2021 financial year, the county assembly had only approved Sh200 million to settle some of the bills.

A further Sh163 million was allocated for settling other similar bills in the 2021/2022 financial year budget, bulk of which was owed to the Kenya Revenue Authority at Sh108 million.

Nakuru county has the third biggest budget among the 47 counties, at Sh17 billion in the current financial year.

However, it has featured among counties with the highest ineligible bills in the last three years.