Senate puts Kericho governor to task over Sh80m bursary funds

Tuesday, March 12th, 2024 04:30 | By
Kericho Governor Erick Mutai. PHOTO/Print

A Senate watchdog committee wants Auditor-General Nancy Gathungu to carry out a forensic audit of Kericho County Bursary Fund.

The Senate County Public Investments and Special Funds committee put on the spot the County Government over failure to account for Sh80 million meant for needy students.

Governor Erick Mutai’s administration failed to conclusively explain whether it disbursed the amount to the intended beneficiaries during the financial year ended June 30, 2021.

The revelations emerged while questioning the management of three Funds names the Kericho County Bursary Fund, Kericho County Alcoholic Drinks Control Fund, and Kericho County Emergency Fund run by the devolved unit for three fiscal years between 2020 and 2022.

During the grilling of the governor, the Godfrey Osotsi (Vihiga) led oversight committee noted instances of inaccuracies in the financial statements for the three Funds as well as budgetary control and performance issues for the Funds in the three fiscal years under review.

In his response, Mutai admitted that the Sh80.8 million in question was disbursed, although late, and they have documents to support their position.

“The funds were approved and there is a list of beneficiaries but the disbursement was hampered by late exchequer release,” said Dr Mutai.

Ledama Olekina (Narok) hard pressed the County Chief to provide a schedule with corresponding dates if indeed the county government awarded the bursaries as they are claiming. “If you awarded the bursaries then provide the schedule and corresponding dates. We must call for a forensic audit of the entire Fund to know where monies from the Fund is being diverted to. Late Exchequer releases is not a reason enough and will put you into problems because you said you disbursed the funds,” said Olekina who is also the Minority Whip.

Eddy Oketch (Migori) pressed the governor to explain why the documents presented by his administration lacked important indices like dates corresponding to the time of disbursement.

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