August 9

Governors order revenue audits to stem loss of funds in counties

Thursday, September 8th, 2022 08:00 | By
Tana River Governor Godhana Dhadho during his swearing-in. He is among the governors who have ordered a forensic audit of the revenue department in the counties. PD/File

Newly sworn-in governors have ordered a forensic audit of the revenue department to establish loopholes exploited by rogue senior officers to siphon public funds.

Ther move comes after it was established that millions of shillings collected by revenue officers were either lost through dubious means or diverted for personal gain.

Immediately after taking office, the county bosses have been making impromptu visits to the treasury offices and revenue department unearthing the racket of rogue staff that has been fleecing the counties of their own generated revenue.

Such cases have been witnessed in Tana River, Kericho, Turkana, Meru, Isiolo, Kisii, Uashi-Gishu, Wajir, Mandera, and Taita Taveta counties.

For instance, during an impromptu visit to the county treasury offices last week, Isiolo Governor Abdi Ibrahim Hassan alias Guyo said nearly half of collected revenue was diverted into individual pockets, denying residents crucial services.

He said the audit will help seal the loopholes and officers implicated in the theft will face the law.

“We want to establish the reasons for the dip in revenue collection in the recent past and also take action on officers culpable of stealing the public funds,” said Guyo.

Guyo noted that some junior officers colluded with top revenue officials to siphon funds through the use of a manual system, with the racket also involving some senior county officials.

He put the revenue and treasury department staff on notice if they do not deliver services according to the county’s expectations.

The governor said that he had ordered DCI to investigate revenue collection, Isiolo water and Sewerage Company (IWASCO), and arrest and prosecute all the corrupt officers.

Guyo said that his priority would be to streamline Iwasco, revenue collection at the county and from the two national game parks since services at these departments are very poor adding he was out to clean the mess at the treasury where salaries and allowances for junior officers are taking long to be paid.

Of great concern to Guyo are Isiolo’s parks, which have been raising little revenue despite being flocked by hundreds of tourists weekly.

Embezzled revenue

When he visited Buffalo Springs National Reserve, Guyo said it receives at least 45 tourist vans weekly, each carrying eight passengers.

Each van is charged Sh1,000 and each visitor pays about Sh10,000, all translating to about Sh3 million from the single park.

But less than Sh1 million is deposited into the treasury account every week, with most of the revenue embezzled.

“If we are faithful in collecting the revenues, the funds will contribute to improved services and development for our people, which I am so passionate about,” he said.

Meanwhile, Nakuru governor Susan Kihika has promised to digitise and automate all essential services to improve income streams and enhance the provision of services.

Kihika said the innovative use of Information Communication Technology would contribute to effective management of revenue collection while at the same time sealing revenue leakages and addressing other gaps in the devolved unit.

Kihika has further announced that she will automate and implement the Land Information Management System (LIM) to tame fraud and forgery of documents in land transactions.

She also noted that digitisation of financial dealings will enhance transparency and accountability, facilitate easy monitoring and correction of expenditure errors hence reduce misappropriation of funds.

“Essential services offered by the County Government including revenue collection, planning and development approvals, issuance of Single Business Permits (SBP) and trade licenses will soon be available on the e-citizen platform. This will eradicate corruption in revenue collection,” she stated.

Fully automating Single Business Permit, trade-license applications, and planning and development approvals applications, the county boss noted, would immensely contribute to ease of doing business and make it easy for investors to set up shop after shortening the time previously taken to process documents.

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