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Governor Awiti put to task over Sh742m pending bills

By Hillary Mageka
Thursday, November 14th, 2019
Homa Bay Governor Cyprian Awiti
Homa Bay Governor Cyprian Awiti. Photo: courtesy

Homabay Governor Cyprian Awiti was on Thursday questioned by the Senate County Public Accountant and Investment committee (CPAIC) over Sh742 million pending bills raised in the auditor general’s report.

Awiti, who appeared before the committee after snubbing it thrice, was grilled for more than five hours where he defended his administration over Sh742 million understatement of pending bills.

The committee, chaired by Homabay Senator Moses Kajwang’, also questioned the governor over Sh9.7 million unsupported payment of commission agents and Sh101 million low collection of on-source revenues despite many potential revenue streams.

In his report, former Auditor General Edward Ouko, the financial statements reflect pending bills totaling Sh742 million as at June 30th 2018.

However, examination of pending bills records from 12 sectors revealed that the total pending bills was Sh781 resulting in understatement of the bills Sh38 million.

Further, the supporting documents for the pending bills were provided for audit.

“In view of the omission, the accuracy and validity of pending bills balance of sh 742 million as June 30th cannot be confirmed as correct,” the report reads in part.

But Kajwang’ stated that the county had indicated it had Sh742 million pending bills only for the figure to balloon to Sh1.6 billion when a special audit was carried out for the counties.

“The county provided documents to the auditors showing Sh1.6 billion as pending bills, but after the audit it emerged that only 742 million were eligible,” said Kajwang.

“This means that Sh916 million were fake, governor who cooked these figures,” he added.

But governor put up a strong defence of his administration saying the difference of Sh38 million was payment already made in the department of finance, but not adjusted in the respective departments therefore resulting to over statement of the pending bills.

While rejecting the special audit, which the governor said did not reflect the real position at the county government, insisted some of the issues listed as pending were donor funds that had been carried forward to the next financial year.

“Mr Chairman, the Sh742 million is not all our money, it is donor funds. We must take that into account. Some of the funds belong to the World Bank,” he stated.

He added: “Such amount must be done and used under the rules and regulations.”

Of the pending bills, the Homabay county chief said the devolved unit paid Sh92 million to Kenya Medical Supplies Agency (KEMSA) and Sh40 million to suppliers after they were confirmed by a special audit report to be eligible.

However, he said the consultants procured by the National Treasury and auditor General however, gave a figure of Sh40 million as eligible pending during the year under review of which as a county they do not agree.

“I am happy that you rejected the special audit report giving you eligible pending bills. But governor, what is your actual pending bills?” Kisii Senator Sam Ongeri asked.

One of the biggest headache for county governments, Senator Ongeri revealed, was the pending bills because suppliers and contractors  provided goods and services to the devolved units, but they are yet to be paid.

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