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State agencies cannot account for Sh17.9 billion — Auditor

Various government agencies failed to explain how they spent Sh17.5 billion in the financial year 2018-19, eliciting concerns the monies could have been misappropriated.

Auditor General Nancy Gathungu reports that of the stated amount, ministries, state departments, and agencies could not explain how they spent Sh17.1 billion.

National funds could not support the expenditure of Sh329.5 million, the same being the case of Sh70 million in respect of donor-funded projects.

Only 33 per cent of government agencies 51 of 148 accounts, were given a clean bill of health during the year under review.

At least 48 per cent 70 of 148, had material issues.

However, 9.5 per cent reported significant issues which may have subjected taxpayers to loss of funds, while 8.8 per cent of the 148 accounts had no supporting documentation.

The audit report reveals that the State Department for ICT, had the hugest chunk, having failed to explain how it spent Sh12.75 billion.

Gathungu said the queries were from payments relating to Konza city project, the county connectivity project and the second phase of the national optic fibre backbone infrastructure.

The payments in question were reportedly made by lending institutions to various contractors executing the projects on behalf of the ministry.

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The auditor, however, said no details were provided to show the date of payments, authorization, and how the contractors were identified.

The Crops department could not account for Sh2.8 billion spent on procurement of subsidized fertilizer and unsupported insurance cost.

Afya House equally could not explain expenditure of Sh336 million having failed to provide for audit, payment vouchers of Sh3 million posted as compensation of employees.

Other questionable expenses at the Health ministry were Sh52.8 million on emergency relief and refugee assistance, Sh13 million for purchase of motor vehicle, and Sh266 million on the construction of buildings.

Parliamentary Service Commission, the entity that manages Parliament, also failed to account for Sh323.5 million that it reported having spent on county services operations.

Public Service department also faces queries of an unclear spend of Sh199 million said to have been put to raining (Sh191 million) and hospitality services.

State Department for EAC could not explain an irregular payment of Sh120 million on consultancy services, Sh16.9 million on the renovation of office, and Sh2.6 million on furniture and conference facilities.

The Labour Department, the audit report reveals, could not account for Sh128 million which it passed off as disbursements to consulate offices.

Gathungu further said the University education department failed to account for Sh110 million spent on the construction of JKUAT administration block.

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Also flagged was Sh90 million spent by the Environment ministry in the procurement of an Airborne Lidar photographic system as no-bid documents for procurement were provided.

The Planning Department could not support the expenditure of Sh79 million posted as imprest paid to various officers during the year under review.

Various payments made without supporting documents by the ASAL department to the tune of Sh59 million were also cited.

Gathungu also queried an unsupported confidential expenditure of Sh29.5 million by the Immigrations and Citizen Services department.

Devolution department, for its part, failed to account for Sh16 million, 12 million at Irrigation department being Sh6.3 million at Lekasuyuni water pan, and Sh6 million on procurement of goods.

Livestock department could not explain Sh5 million spent on a tractor at Rabbit Institute, Sh4 million for agricultural machinery, and Sh3.67 million on Isiolo mobile pastoral training field station.

The Judiciary could not support Sh12.3 million spent on domestic travel and hospitality expenses whereas Gender department failed to support Sh8.5 million spent on office partitioning works.

Fisheries department was queried over Sh6.9 million on rented space at NHIF building whereas the Shipping department failed to state clearly how it spent Sh1.9 million on vehicle repairs.

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Gathungu, in her report, said the problems were widespread, persistent and required considerable interventions by the management to rectify.

She took issue with the Treasury for not applying sanctions to entities that fail to address issues raised by auditors, as required by law.

“Lack of requisite sanctions has led to perennial failure by some accounting officers to adequately account for the management and use of public resources,” Gathungu said.

This has led to fiscal indiscipline including misallocations, wastage of resources and lack of value for money in the implementation of projects.

Gathungu said her office would work with oversight agencies such as the EACC and State Corporations Advisory Committee to increase the impacts of audits.

Among outstanding queries are in respect of outstanding loan balances of Sh809 billion amid discrepancies in the confirmed balances and books held by the debtors.

Also queried is the recoverability of some Sh84 billion dormant loans to various state agencies among them Kenya Airways the highest at Sh24 billion.

Also flagged are Sh176 million cash payment to IDPs, Sh61 million paid to Asian and European pensioners, Sh51 million grants to various sports organizations, Sh28 million in NGAAF, and Sh10.6 million unsupported schedules and signed agreements in the Civil Servants housing fund.

About Whispers from the North

Whispers from the North is an online platform that appreciates the ecological, cultural and socio-economic diversities of Northern Kenya. We also acknowledge that the lives of the communities of northern Kenya has been shaped by a number of intrinsic and extrinsic factors which have led to complex challenge that calls for a multifaceted approach.

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