Senate asks EACC to probe Nairobi assembly over misuse of Sh1.3b

Homa Bay Senator Moses Kajwang. [Brenda Radido, Standard]

Senate County Public Accounts Committee has directed the Ethics and Anti-Corruption Commission (EACC) to investigate the embezzlement of more than Sh1.3 billion disbursed to the Nairobi county assembly in the last four years.

The Committee chaired by Homa Bay Senator Moses Kajwang asked the Auditor General to conduct a forensic audit of the county assembly's financial statements for the last four years since there were clear breaches.

Kajwang who was speaking during the appearance of Nairobi county assembly leadership to answer audit queries before the committee said the financial expenditure raised eyebrows with the audit dysfunctional, primary oversight wanting and primary controls not working.

“What we have witnessed today is a matter of grave concern which raises questions on the possibility of embezzlement of Sh1.3 billion by Nairobi county assembly officials for the last four years. We are asking the Ethics and Anti-Corruption Commission to take up the matter,” he said.

He said that documents signed by an interdicted officer cannot be admissible before the committee with several cases of interdiction and suspension of officials in the accounts department of the assembly for the last four years attracting the attention of senators.

The Homa Bay Senator said the committee has directed the EACC to carry out a forensic audit of the Nairobi assembly while the Directorate of Criminal Investigation must determine the criminal culpability of those involved because the issues are beyond auditing.

The committee got concerned because it was the fourth straight year that the assembly received adverse audit reports meaning that it was unable to prepare financial reports devoid of mistakes which clearly points towards misappropriation of public funds.

“The Auditor General report further indicates that there are serious persistent breaches in the Nairobi county assembly financial records which shows that the assembly could not conclusively account for the Sh1.3 billion,” said Kajwang.

County Assembly Clerk Edward Gichana and Speaker Ken Ng’ondi were put on the spot over their administration getting four adverse opinions from the Auditor General report.

In defence, Gichana told the committee that the assembly has had political transformation over the years and at the time of the audit, they had six acting clerks and three acting Speakers a situation he said could have given room to the massive looting of public resources.

The Clerk told the senators that for a long time, the assembly did not have a functional audit committee since the quorum is three and when one member passed on, it remained dysfunctional.

“I would kindly like to inform this committee that during the years under review Nairobi county assembly has had six acting Clerks and three Speakers, this may have created a loophole for misappropriation of public funds,” said Gichana.

The Senate Committee further established that the assembly could not support some expenditures with relevant documents and in some cases, officers made payments without authorisation, which has been rampant since the inception of the House in 2013.

Kajwang said that out of the 27 queries raised by the Auditor General in the 2020-21 financial year, the leadership had only responded to one comprehensively and it had been established that unauthorised individuals signed the financial statements for the financial year 2020-2021.

The Senate committee resolved to write to the Institute of Certified Public Accountants of Kenya (ICPAK) directing it to investigate and discipline two staff members in the accounts department of Nairobi county assembly for professional negligence.

“The county assembly of Nairobi violated laws, the Public Audit Act, Public Finance Management Act and Constitution. This is the untidiest report we are seeing, we cannot process a report that is a forgery on its face,” Kajwang. 

Senator Richard Onyonka asked the Speaker to clean up the assembly in line with the Public Finance Management Act and reduce unnecessary bureaucracy in financial management to ensure efficient service delivery.

During the years under review, the assembly had Speakers Beatrice Elachi (now Dagoretti North MP), Chege Mwaura and Benson Mutura while acting clerks were Gichana, Jacob Ngwele, Pauline Akuku, Castro Otieno and Adah Anyango.

By AFP 7 hrs ago
What England must resolve to avoid covering face in shame
Emerging Stars gear up for 2024 COSAFA Cup
Unique Sports
Why Kenya will have a lean team in Paris Olympics
Missed Olympic dream highlights urgent need for revamping Kenyan women's rugby