Auditor indicts county bosses for suspect use of taxpayers’ money

Sitting and ex-governors have been put on the spot over massive misuse of public funds amounting to millions of money and improper project implementation.

Auditor General Edward Ouko‘s damming reports for several county executive for the year ended 30thJune 2016 tabled in Senate reveals misappropriation of taxpayers’ money.

Samburu Governor Moses Lenolkulal and former Nakuru County boss Kinuthia Mbugua administrations performance was wanting in managing public funds forcing Ouko to give an adverse opinion in their audit reports.

Auditor general puts a disclaimer on operations of 18 county administrations of 20 devolved unit reports tabled in the House on Tuesday afternoon by Majority Leader Kipchumba Murkomen.

Counties with a disclaimer include Homa Bay, Nandi, Uasin Gishu, Lamu, Kwale, Tana River, Mombasa, Machakos, Kilifi, Nairobi, Taita Taveta, Kericho, Trans Nzioa, West Pokot, Migori, Elgeyo Marakwet, Turkana and Nyamira.

Reports for Nakuru and Samburu bear an adverse opinion caused by doubtful and unsupported spending, irregular spending on foreign and local travels, purchase of assets and equipment, among others.

Ouko reveals that Mbugua’s administration in the financial year 2015-16 paid Sh9.89 million to contract M/S Summer Winter Events Management to organize and conduct the 2015 Miss Tourism Pegeant in Nakuru’s 11 sub-counties.

He says the event’s finals were slated 25th March 2016 but no evidence was provided to auditors to prove that the sub-county events occurred.

“Audit interviews with several sub-county administrators revealed that they were not aware of the event. In the circumstance, it has not been possible to establish whether the event took place or not. The expenditure therefore may not have been a proper charge to the public funds,” Ouko says.

The county’s Public Service Board members are on the spotlight for spending Sh4.85 million on foreign travel training missions organized by ESAMI in various countries.

The county said tuition fees for the training was 1,500 US dollars payable before departure and the copy of the payment receipt was to be presented at the venue on registration.

Ouko, however, notes that no payment was made to ESAMI as tuition fees during the period and that no certificate of participation was availed as proof for the training.

“It has not been possible to confirm whether the County Public Service made the trip or not and therefore whether the expenditure of Sh4.85 was incurred for the purpose intended,” he says.

The auditor could also not establish whether Sh4.5 million spent on purchase of fertilizer for internally displaced persons in Nakuru benefited the group because no receipts for the supplies were availed for audit.

“In my opinion, the financial statements do not present fairly the financial position of the County Executive of Nakuru as at 30 June 2016 and of its financial performance and its cash flows for the year in accordance with the International Public Sector Accounting Standards and do not comply with the Public Finance Management Act, 2012,” Ouko says.

Samburu governor, for instance, is on the spotlight for his administration’s failure to provided lease agreements between the county government and hotels operating in Samburu Game Park for audit.

The auditor says it was impossible to confirm the “completeness and accuracy” of Sh20.7 million the county said it collected from the hotels.

Nyamira County under Governor John Nyagarama is on the spotlight for spending Sh4 million from public coffers to fence his private residential homes in Matutu and Mosobeti. Ouko discloses that Sh2.97 million was paid on 23rd June 2016 for the fencing.

The agreement was signed on 6th June 2014 between the Executive and unnamed local company to do the work at a contract sum of Sh13.96 million.

“The Executive contravened the provisions of Section b (x) of Gazette Notice No. 2888 of February 28, 2013 which states that the Governor shall be housed by the State and provided with all commensurate home utilities and attendants subject to review by Salaries and Remuneration Commission from time to time,” Ouko says.

The Sh13.96 million contract also involved erection of a razor wire of 980mm diameter at Sh448, 000 at the governor’s official residence  in Nyamira, installation of CCTV system worth Sh3.99 million and electric fence worth619,800 in a leased house. The house’s monthly rent was Sh50, 000 acquired on May 2, 2013 for three years.

Ouko says Sh13.96 million used on the project should have been used to construct Nyagarama’s official residence.

“The wall put up at the governor’s Matutu private home had collapsed as at the time of our audit inspection on October 26, 2016, an indication that the contractor had carried out shoddy work,” he says.

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