By Salad Malicha
High octane political bombshell is looming over shocking revelations pertaining to fictitious purchase of emergency relief food where a whopping Ksh. 330Million was gobbled up by the county leeches and yet no relief food reached intended beneficiaries in the entire county. The docket of Special Programme has become the conveyor belt for siphoning taxpayer’s money.
The department is the real cash cow here. Impeccable sources outside the county but privy to the dealings (With documentary evidence) tacitly reported that as at 9th May, 2019 at precisely 00.00HRS the above monumental cash was looted by the mandarins at the expense of poor peasants. Sad as it may be the Members of the County Assembly have been heavily compromised through paltry handouts and brown envelopes to sanitize that fraudulent expenditure through supplementary budget.
Unsupported expenditure on relief food that lacked supporting documentation including survey of number of affected persons, date and venue of food distribution, signatures of the ghost recipients appeared to be very similar. This indicate lords of impunity have sat down and doctored list of fake and nonexistent recipients of emergency relief food.
The Assembly is miserably limping in the entire fiasco led by its leadership. Understandably, the MCA’s have approved the illegitimate and fraud expenditure ostensibly in Hotel and under a tree without taking it to the Assembly for deliberation and adoption (Hansard of the Assembly can bear me witness). Shocking as it may be the Hansard report is currently doctored to sanitize the shadowy expenditure. The Assembly is an accomplice and partner in this racket. Ksh 400M went into flames and yet the original budget had Ksh. I50 Million.
The county executive’s transparency problems are compounded by the fact that the Executive is yet to establish an Internal Audit Committee, a worrying violation of Article 155 of the Public Finance Management Act 2012. As a result, county financial operations/expenditure are not subjected to an internal audit process which would serve as an early warning system to identify potential/emerging drought risks early and either avoid them or mitigate their effect. Additionally, this created a loophole whereby the County Treasury fail to submit financial reports to the Auditor-General on time.
Further, the county has not established a County Budget and Economic Forum (CBEF) as required by Section 137 of the PFM. As a result, public participation in county budget processes is hampered. As expected, the County Assembly has become a satellite unit to rubber stamp fraudulent County Executive policies and decisions.
OTHER UNEXPLAINED EXPENDITURE (MONIES UNACCOUNTED FOR) FOR THE FINANCIAL YEAR 2017/2018 AS AT SEPTEMBER 2018
The Auditor-General discovered significant discrepancies in the county executive’s reporting of its spending.
• The county executive failed to provide supporting documents justifying expenditure of a reported Ksh. 455,079,767.
• A scrutiny of bank documents revealed that Ksh. 1,200,000 reportedly disbursed to Sericho and Merti health centres was actually not disbursed. The fate of the money could not be accounted be determined.
• The Auditor’s report revealed alleged expenditure of Ksh. 4,309,200 on purchase of fuel, but no actual purchases were recorded in the fuel register.
• The county executive reportedly spent Ksh. 201,669,500 on emergency food relief as at September 2018. Curiously, however, not records were available to support this expenditure (no record of dates, venues and the people to which this relief food was distributed). The expenditure for emergency relief food has now shot up to a staggering Ksh. 330 Million devoid of need assessment by the county cabinet committee and ultimately be approved the county Assembly.
• The county executive reportedly spent Ksh. 197,321,299 on civil works. However, the executive could not provide documentation (tender documents, works completion documents and certificates of completion) to prove the existence of these civil works and to justify the expenditure. Of this amount, Ksh. 14,199,818 was listed as pending bill for works allegedly done on drainage, desilting, gabion and flush control works in Kambi Garba, Bulla Nasei, Ashraf and Olla Bulla. Physical verification revealed that no such works had been done.
• Ksh. 39,306,000 alleged expenditure on hire of motor vehicles could not be verified.
• Ksh. 35,251,396 alleged expenditure on consultancy services could not be verified, and the nature of these services is unknown.
• Ksh. 5,243,304 was paid for water projects which were actually not constructed.
• Ksh. 3,188,395 was paid for grading of the World Vision-Muriri Road, but the road was actually not graded.
• By reportedly hiring casual workers without the involvement of the County Public Service Board, the county executive unlawfully incurred an expenditure of Ksh. 13,263,461.
• The county executive could not provide documentary evidence to support expenditure of a total of Ksh. 28,617,790, Ksh. 14,249,199 and Ksh. 18,250,345 spent on specialized material, office supplies and legal services respectively.