Audit unearths Sh10b sunk in stalled projects

Monday, February 28th, 2022 00:14 | By
Trans Nzoia Governor Patrick Khaemba inspects progress of Trans Nzoia Teaching and Referral Hospital in 2016. Audit report shows the project has since stalled. PD/file

At least 15 outgoing governors sunk more than Sh10 billion into stalled, incomplete, or unutilized megaprojects, according to the latest Auditor General’s report.

Audit reveals that some of the flagship projects, which have consumed taxpayers’ money were either poorly done, have stalled or are not being utilized.

In her report for the Financial Year ended June 30, 2020, Auditor General Nancy Gathungu reveals payments dating back to 2014 were made for works not done to date, casting doubt on whether value for money was realized.

In Mombasa, for instance, an Sh1.8 billion sports complex remains stalled even as Governor Ali Hassan Joho prepares to exit the stage.

According to the audit, the contract was signed on December 28, 2018 with the expected start date of January 18, 2019 with a contract duration of three years.

“Records indicate that the contractor was paid a Sh88 million in the FY 2019/20 bringing the total payment to Sh132 million as of June 30, 2020,” the audit.

It adds: “However, as at the time of the audit in November 2020, the project’s duration remaining was 14 months (39 per cent of the contract period) to completion yet only seven per cent of the works had been done and paid for.”

Joho’s administration has also committed Sh214 million for the Construction of Early Childhood Development schools. Contract duration was 32 weeks, which commenced in May 2014 with an expected completion date of December 2015.

During the year under review, the Executive incurred Sh73 million on the construction of buildings out of which, Sh11 million was spent on construction of Early Childhood Development Centres.

However, as at the time of audit in November 2020, only six ECDs had been completed while the remaining two had stalled five years past the expected date of completion. “Under the circumstances, it was not possible for the project to be completed within the remaining period and value for money on the expenditure could not be ascertained,” she said.

In the neighbouring Kwale headed by Governor Salim Mvurya, projects’ implementation status report that was provided for audit review indicates that the Executive allocated Sh3.6 billion for the implementation of 522 projects.

Out of this, the Executive contracted for the construction of paved road, market sheds, prayer room and public toilets at beach access road .

According to the Auditor, the site visit revealed that the projects had stalled and the contractor was not on site. “This is an indication of poor project planning and management of projects implementation,” she said.

In Trans Nzoia, the administration of Governor Patrick Khaemba had commissioned, the construction of Trans Nzoia Teaching and Referral Hospital at a cost of Sh1.4 billion. Project has since stalled.

Site visit

Examination of procurement records indicates that the Executive awarded a contract for construction of the facility in the Financial Year 2016/17.

Project commenced on December 15, 2017 and was expected to be completed in 62 weeks on February 23, 2019.

Examination of project documents indicated that cumulative payments to the contractor as at December 4, 2020 totaled Sh1.3 billion.

“However, contrary to Section 139(1 & 2) of the Public Procurement and Assets Disposals Act, 2015, there were no records showing that the extension of the contract period was approved after the lapse of the original due date on February 23, 2019,” the audit report. In Prof Kivutha Kibwana’s Makueni, review of records indicated that the devolved unit implemented 31 projects valued at Sh63 million during the year under review. However, 29 projects executed to completion at an aggregate cost of Sh55 million were not commissioned.

Further, two projects in which Sh7.8 million had been spent had stalled.

“No adequate explanation was provided by management for the delay in commissioning the projects. As a result of the delay, public services that the projects were expected to provide were not realised,” the Auditor noted.

In Machakos, Governor Alfred Matura’s government started 27 projects in 2018/19 at a contract sum of Sh775 million and were scheduled to be completed by October 2019 are either incomplete or have stalled.

An audit inspection conducted in November 2020 indicated that two of the projects were yet to be completed, a year after the expiry of their respective contract periods.

“Contracts were for the construction of non-motorised transport facilities and cabro-paving works along Kitui Road and Gregon at Sh45 million and upgrading of Nguluni Centre roads to bitumen standards at a cost of Sh59 million,” the report.

Mutua is also on the spot for a fire station that gobbled Sh39 million but is yet to be connected to the electric power supply system and cannot, therefore, be of any use.

In Elgeyo Marakwet, audit reveals that the implementation of over 1,252 projects by Governor Alex Tolgos’ administration has either been delayed or stalled.

According to the report, the county had budgeted for Sh1.97 billion to be allocated eight departments to finance the projects in the Financial Year 2019-20. However, the respective project status reports indicated that they were behind completion schedules despite the Executive spending Sh841.86 million on June 30, 2020, on 911 of the projects.

Auditor General noted that the delays denied the residents of Elgeyo Marakwet the services and other economic benefits that accrue from the projects.

Additionally, the costs of implementing the projects could rise due to inflationary and/or other factors.

Economic benefits

“Audit inspection of a sample 39 projects budgeted to cost Sh115.89 million in aggregate, with payments totalling Sh102.44 million made as of June 30, 2020, confirmed the completion of 27 whereas 12 projects were incomplete,” the report.

In Uasin Gishu, the Executive awarded 13 contracts for the construction of milk cooling plants to a tune of  Sh229 million between May 10, 2016 and June 17, 2016 to be completed within a period of six months.

However, the administration of Governor Jackson Mandago made payments of Sh43.6 million for the construction of various milk cooling plants thus raising the total payments to Sh244 million since inception.

In Turkana, outgoing Governor Josephat Nanok had budgeted Sh132 million for the construction of Modern Business Centre in Lodwar. Contract was to run for a period of five years beginning May 23, 2016 with an expected completion date of June 20, 2020.

Executive paid Sh22 million towards the contract. “However, physical verification of the project in January 2020 confirmed that the contractor had deserted the site and hence the project had stalled for over seven months after its expected completion date,” said the Auditor.

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