Puzzle of county employees who share the same bank accounts

Auditor General, Nancy Gathungu [left] and Controller of Budget, Margaret Nyakango [2nd left] chat with Head of Public Service, Felix Kosgey [right] during a consultative meeting between Audit committees of the National Assembly and the executive office of the President. [Courtesy]

The Auditor General has flagged cases where some county employees share the same bank accounts through which they are paid.

The 2022/2023 Financial Year report has flagged payments made by Elgeyo Marakwet, Bomet and Baringo to employees sharing bank accounts.

For instance, in Elgeyo Marakwet, 14 ECD teachers shared the same bank accounts.

The audit revealed that the County Executive had a separate Human Resource Information Management System (HRIMS) for human resource management and payroll for staff not in the Integrated Payroll and Personnel Data (IPPD) system.

“Review of the HRIMS system revealed that 14 staff members employed as ECD teachers shared the same bank codes and bank accounts raising questions about their existence,” read the audit report in part.

A further analysis of the system and the audit revealed that the said officers were paid salaries in the shared bank accounts for one year (12 months).

A review of personal files for the six officers in question auditor said that they filled same bank account details in the personal biodata form which is not a requirement for all public officers

The Auditor General said the effectiveness of controls on human resource management and payroll system could not be confirmed.

In Baringo County, six officers share bank accounts.

In Bomet, the audit revealed 14 employees earning a monthly gross salary totalling Sh4,456,503 were paid in shared bank accounts.

Payment of salaries, the auditor said, contravenes Section C.1 (2) of the Human Resource Policies and Procedures Manual for the Public Service, 2016 which requires all officers to be paid salary every month in Kenya currency through their respective bank accounts.

The audit further revealed county governments are yet to adopt the  Integrated Personnel and Payroll Database to ensure efficient processing of wage bills.

Instead, most counties are still processing employees’ payroll through the manual system.

Counties were required to migrate to the Unified Human Resource Information System by October 1, 2022, in line with the guidelines by the Head of Public Service.

Baringo County Executive, it was noted, made payment of Sh25.5 million in salaries through MS Excel despite in the Financial Year 2022/2023 despite having IPPD.

Further, the audit revealed a summation of the staff cost on the two payrolls and the employer contributions to social schemes and pensions amounting to Sh2.9 billion which differ from the compensation of employees cost in the financial statements of Sh3.05 billion.

In Laikipia County, salaries totalling Sh513.7 million were paid outside the (IPPD.

The audit noted an irregularity in the maintenance of the Human Resource Information System in Nakuru County.

The report revealed that the County Executive’s payroll for 199 employees was processed through an off-shelf payroll system hence contravening the Treasury Circular No.13/2019 of 28 August 2019 which required that the allocation of personnel emoluments must be supported by Integrated Personnel and Payroll Data Base (IPPD) and each government department was required to provide the information to support personnel requirements.

Off-shelf payroll system, according to the audit, does not capture essential employee information details such as Kenya Revenue Authority personal identification number, date of birth, date of employment, gender, ethnic code, job group or job scale.

“In addition, no monthly payroll reconciliations were carried out against payroll by-products to validate amounts paid and number of staff and the reliability of the Human Resource Information system on payroll could not be confirmed. In the circumstances, Management was in breach of the law,” read the report.

In Kericho, salaries amounting to Sh80.1 million were processed and paid outside the IPPD system.

In Kakamega, salary payments amounting to Sh105.2 million were processed through the manual payroll.

In Vihiga, Sh338.5 million was paid outside the IPPD system. The audit revealed that one of the employees had his tax pin in two different entities Vote Code 33801 and 34001 for July and August, implying that the employee earned two salaries.

In Bungoma, Sh1.8 million salary was paid to an average of four employees per month outside the IPPD.

Trans Nzoia, 76 employees of the County Executive moved job groups by more than one level within a single financial year.

The audit also revealed multiple payments of arrears ranging from one to 12 times per employee within a year, totaling Sh136.4 million.

Four employees the audit revealed had their dates of birth changed to a later date. These changes were it was revealed were not supported by any documentation casting doubt on the accuracy and integrity of the payroll.

The County Executive was noted paid salaries totalling Sh103.3 million outside the Integrated Payroll and Personnel Database payroll during the year.