Ex-governors on the spot over misuse of public cash

Tuesday, January 10th, 2023 09:00 | By
Ex-governors on the spot over misuse of public cash
Auditor’s report shows Siaya County Stadium contracted at Sh394.66 million has stalled for 23 months, since November 2021. PD/file

Governors elected in the August polls inherited billions of shillings in pending bills, stalled projects, massive unaccounted expenditures and financial wastages.

The latest report by Auditor General Nancy Gathungu exposes how former county chiefs ran the devolved units by breaches of law, excessive expenditure on compensation to employees, manual processing of personnel emoluments and late remittance of statutory deductions among other financial ills.

For instance, Siaya Governor James Orengo’s administration inherited more than Sh601 million in debt and stalled projects valued at about Sh500 million.

Financial audit report for Siaya for the 2020/21 Financial Year puts former Governor Cornel Rasanga’s administration on the spot, for losing huge cash in unsurrendered impress by employees.

This even as the county continued to retain 78 employees, who had surpassed the mandatory retirement age of 60 in its payroll. During the year under review, some 20 employees were paid Sh5.64 million outside the Integrated Payroll and Personnel Database system, triggering concerns about the possibility of ghost workers.

The report also flagged expenditures of more than Sh230.36 million and that funds were reportedly spent on training (Sh135.34 million), hospitality (Sh48.18 million), and office and general expenses (Sh46.84 million).

However, the county could not provide relevant support documents to authenticate or account for the expenditures.

Gathungu’s report shows that the construction of Siaya County Stadium contracted at Sh394.66 million had stalled for 23 months as of November 2021 past the completion date despite the management indicating that there had been four extensions to the contract period,” the report.

In Kilifi, the Auditor notes that there was a variance between the returned County Revenue Funds issues balance of Sh68,935 that differs from the amount of Sh1,132,168,534 in the summary of appropriation –recurrent and development combined. “The resulting difference of Sh1,132,099,599 was not explained or reconciled.”

According to information and records maintained by the management, Kenya Revenue Authority (KRA) accused the county of failure to honour an agency notice to recover taxes amounting to Sh41,618,306 from a supplier and enforced direct collection of the amount through a demand notice on April 28, 2021.

Court order

In turn, the County Government, through a court order recovered the amount from the Pay As You Earn (PAYE) deductions for the month of May 2021 and paid the balance of Sh15,228,759.

“However, KRA enforced another direct collection of Sh56,724,881 in respect of PAYE for the same receivable. As at the time of the audit, the matter had not been settled and the recoverability of the receivable remained uncertain.”

Migori Governor Dr Ochillo Ayacko inherited an outdated valuation roll for rents and rates, unsupported expenditure on the purchase of medical supplies and unsupported insurance expenses.

According to the Auditor, the statement of receipts and payments reflects Sh1,118,297,985 in respect to transfer to other government units as disclosed in the financial statements, the amount includes Sh34,866, 488 transferred to vocational polytechnics.

“However, the acknowledgement letters and returns on utilisation of the funds were not provided for audit. Consequently, the validity and completeness of the expenditure of Sh34,866,488 could not be ascertained.” The statements of assets and liabilities reflects Sh1,715,152,007 in respect cash and cash equivalents, however, bank confirmation certificates for eight accounts maintained at the Central Bank with reported balances totalling Sh1,373,024,390 were not provided for audit.

In Elgeyo Marakwet, the Auditor noted that the Executive exceeded the threshold of 35 per cent of the expenditure on compensation of employees.

Report review of the budget for the year ended June 30, 2021 indicates budgeted expenditure on compensation of employees amounting to Sh2,310,990,012 or 39 per cent of the budgeted revenue of Sh5,951,738,488.

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