Mombasa governor in a spot over disappearance of Sh54 million

Governor Abdulswamad Nassir before the Senate County Public Investments and Special Funds committee. [Elvis Ogina, Standard]

Mombasa Governor Abdulswamad Nassir was taken to task by the Senate Tuesday over the disappearance of Sh54 million disbursed from one of the three Funds operated by the county government before the August 2022 General Election.

Nassir who appeared before Senate County Public Investments and Special Funds committee in Nairobi was asked to explain how the County Alcoholic Control Fund, County Elimu Fund and County Consolidated Revolving Fund were spent.

The Committee Chaired by Vihiga Senator Godfrey Osotsi was shocked to learn that funds from the Mombasa County Consolidated Revolving Fund were dispersed to amorphous groups without any loan agreement or security for the same which raised audit queries.

“This committee would like to know the measures put in place by the Mombasa county government to recover the Sh54 million, do you have a list of borrowers, we have seen other counties managing similar cases, what efforts have you put in place to recover the funds?" Posed Osotsi.

Narok Senator Ledama ole Kina said names of the beneficiaries of the Sh54 million must be sent to a debt collector to recover the taxpayer’s money so as to serve as a lesson to others who might have similar intentions.

Nominated Senator Tabitha Mutinda raised concern over the manner in which the money was advanced to the various groups before the 2022 polls wondering whether it was being siphoned for campaign purposes.

Kisumu Senator Tom Ojienda also wondered how such a huge amount of money could be disbursed without a clear framework saying that this shows that there were plans to misuse the funds by those who were responsible for the three funds and they should not walk away scot-free.

Nassir told the committee that it might be difficult to recover the money unless they partner with a financial institution to help them trail the beneficiaries saying his administration was grappling with whether to wind up the Fund because it has turned into a hole.

“I would like to state that it might not be easy to get back the lost funds since we do not have the capacity to get it back, we are working on a new legislation that is going to repeal it, we have taken into account all the issues raised and the new regulation should be in place by June this year,” he said.

Mombasa Senator Mohamed Faki asked the governor whether the county government had engaged a debt collector to recover the money.

The Controller of Budget has flagged the county government for continuously failing to submit full reports as well as financial statements on its established funds every quarter as is required by law.

The county government was also put on the spot over the lack of enabling legislation to regulate County Alcoholics Drinks Control Fund and irregular remittances to the County Revenue Fund.

The Elimu Fund also faced similar queries and a lack of provisions on winding up of the Fund.