Auditor cites social services for land loss

Friday, February 23rd, 2024 05:40 | By
Auditor cites social services for land loss
Auditor General Nancy Gathungu. PHOTO/Print

Auditor General Nancy Gathungu has fingered the State Department for Social Protection and Senior Citizens Affairs over poor management of the cash transfer programme and encroachment of land for various children's institutions.

In a report for the Financial Year 2022/23, Gathungu said several issues were raised over how the management has failed to address the changes that in some cases have led to loss of money.

In the case of the cash transfer programme, Gathungu took issue with the failure of the department to remove undeserving programme beneficiaries from the payroll.

The report notes that the management was in breach of the regulations following its failure to exit beneficiaries from the programme.

This is because an amount of Sh214.4 million for 8,934 beneficiaries was returned by the payment service provider to the holding accounts of the State Department because the beneficiaries failed to access funds in their accounts for over twelve months as a result of the death of the beneficiary or other reasons.

This is contrary to Paragraph 1.3.6 of the Service Providers contract, which states that a beneficiary will be removed from the payroll if he fails to transact from the account for four cycles (eight months) unless he shows proof of life.

Reads the report: “The payment service providers will hold the money for another four months after which the money will be clawed back to the Ministry Project Account in the event the beneficiary will not have shown proof of life. Management did not provide satisfactory reasons for the failure to exit the beneficiaries from the Programme. In the circumstances, Management was in breach of the regulations.”

Physical inspection

On encroachment of land, the report shows that a physical inspection carried out in September 2023 on parcels of land for children remand homes, rehabilitation centers, and rescue centres revealed a lack of ownership documents and have been encroached.

The homes affected include Getathuru National Reception, Assessment and Classification Centre, Wamumu Rehabilitation School, Nairobi Remand Home, Othaya Rehabilitation School, Murang’a Children’s Remand Home and Thika Rescue Centre.

Reads the report: “In the circumstances, the effectiveness of control systems put in place by Management for assets and preventative mechanisms to eliminate theft, security threats, losses, wastage and misuse of assets as provided for in Regulation 139(1) of the Public Finance Management (National Government) Regulations, 2015 could not be confirmed.”

At Getathuru National Reception, Assessment and Classification Centre which is situated in Nairobi county’s Westlands Sub-County and occupies about 17 hectares, the report reveals that a Chinese constructor was given about five hectares to set up their building site as they built the Redhill-Waiyaki Way By-Pass.

The company, the report notes, built a double permanent perimeter wall on the property as a residence and a yard for machinery yet no lease agreement was provided, to determine the terms under which they are using the property as well as absence of evidence of receipt of revenue from the company by the State Department.

 Further, it was not explained why the construction company continued to use the property about three years after the bypass had been completed.

Wamumu Rehabilitation School which occupies approximately 74.6 hectares of land, the report says out of this approximately 40.5 hectares of land was allocated to Kenya Medical Research Institute (KEMRI) and another 26 hectares is in the process of being allocated to a group calling themselves “Watu wa Mihiriga Kenda” (translated to mean people from the nine clans).

However, the report raises concerns that no approval documents were provided for the allocation.

“In addition, documents provided revealed that no correspondence between the Rehabilitation Center, the Director of Children Services and the County Coordinator for Kirinyaga National Lands Commission, involved the Principal Secretary of the State department for Social Protection, an indication of the irregular transfer of the parcel of land.”

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