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Senate calls for audit on NMS expenditure

Nairobi County Governor Johnson Sakaja (right) before CPAC at Bunge Towers, Nairobi, on May 6, 2024. [Elvis Ogina, Standard]

The Senate County Public Accounts Committee has ordered the Auditor General’s office to present reports on the expenditure of Sh43 billion by the Nairobi Metropolitan Services (NMS) during its management of certain Nairobi County Government affairs.

Nairobi Governor Johnson Sakaja, who appeared before the committee chaired by Homa Bay Senator Moses Kajwang, stated that the county administration had transferred Sh27 billion to the NMS, which left pending bills worth Sh16 billion upon completion of its assignment.

Pending bills

Governor Sakaja, responding to audit reports for the financial years 2020-2021 and 2021-2022, informed the committee that the county will not settle legal pending bills amounting to Sh10 billion, citing suspicious claims that have persisted for years.

Sakaja said, “The County Government of Nairobi will engage with experts to scrutinize the pending legal bills of more than Sh10 billion. Paying these bills would paralyze city services, as most of them raise questions about their legitimacy.”

The Governor acknowledged a decline in the county’s revenue collection over the past six years. The committee noted that the county has the potential to generate up to Sh19 billion in own-source revenue annually and emphasized the importance of sealing revenue leakage loopholes.

State House Comptroller Katoo ole Metito, in July last year assured the committee that the Executive Office of the President would settle the Sh15 billion pending bills incurred by the NMS, which managed critical county departments. Metito stated that State House was finalising the handover report, with the delay caused by the fact that most NMS officers were from different government departments.

Accounting officer

Metito said: “The State House Comptroller was the accounting officer for the Nairobi Metropolitan Services. That’s why the office of the President will be paying the verified Sh15 billion pending bills for the time it was in charge of running the city. That is our responsibility, not the Nairobi County Government.”

When asked why he had missed previous committee appearances, Governor Sakaja explained that the audit report under discussion pertained to the tenure of his predecessor and the NMS, and he was ready to cooperate with the Senate to ensure effective city management.

The Governor informed the committee that the Kenya Power and Lighting Company owed the city Sh2.1 billion, while the state agency claimed Sh1.4 billion from the city. Nairobi Senator Edwin Sifuna expressed concern that the current electricity bill the county owed KPLC was equivalent to the revenue allocation given to Lamu County and suggested the county invest in solar lighting as a solution.

Governor Sakaja told the committee that his administration has allocated Sh500 million for disaster management in the city to mitigate the effects of floods, which have claimed 20 lives and affected 60,000 people.

He said that 31 camps have been established for the victims and that his administration is working with the national government to repair 17 bridges. He also noted that the county has not received funds for disaster management from the national government.

Fire stations

He added that the county is currently constructing fire stations at Gikomba, Kangemi, and Kihumbuini to address the frequent incidents in the city, with at least 50 cases reported per month, and that they are working with the national government to ensure the department is well equipped.

Sifuna took the Governor to task over the qualifications of staff working under the disaster management department who he defended saying that they were up to the task, dispelling information on social media on their qualification.

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