The lack of financial accountability continues to impact on many county and national projects. For instance, the Auditor-General has called out Kenya Power for a Sh29.6 billion expenditure, without the requisite evidence of payments to contractors in addition to the purchase of faulty equipment under the Last Mile Connectivity Project.
The million dollar initiative, is funded by the Kenyan government and the African Development Bank (AfDB) and aims to connect homes to the national grid at a subsidized cost.
The audit report indicates that, the project had received a total of Sh28.2 billion representing 63% of the approved loan amount of Sh44.7 billion. However, documents in respect of disbursement and payments to contractors were not provided for audit verification. Further, n although the project had a projection of connecting 525,796 customers by the end of the project, only 213,432 had been connected representing 41 percent of the projection yet disbursement was at 63 percent.”
The report also found that single prepaid meters purchased from a Chinese company at a cost of Sh1 billion, and installed at customers’ premises were not vending. This was despite the fact that the gadgets had been activated by the contractor, therefore implying that the customers were purchasing tokens, yet the Consumer Interface Units (CIU) were not reflecting the transactions and providing power. Also, other meter connections had taken as long as three years without working.
In addition to the above, Kenya Power has been put under the spotlight for spending Sh274.3 million on consultants whose work could not be ascertained. The consultancy services ranged from supervision and management of civil works to the installation of meters. However, these ports attests that site visits by the audit team revealed no evidence of consultants’ personnel’s presence at those sites, raising doubt on whether they had been deployed as per the contract.
Other projects were implemented without regard to regulatory and procurement processes. There was no evidence of engagement with the Energy and Petroleum Regulatory Authority (EPRA) and/or the Rural Electrification and Renewable Energy Corporation (REREC), an omission which the auditor states lead to the duplication of projects. The report affirms that documents that are key to procurement of services and works, including feasibility studies and surveys, progress reports for projects, technical specifications, bills of quantities and architectural drawings, and environmental and social impacts assessment reports were unavailable for audit by the end of the project.
This unfortunate state of affairs speaks to the greed and un-patriotism within our public institutions. Sadly, lack of transparency and accountability in the management of public respires adversely impact on the economy and quality of life of the citizenry. It is therefore important that investigatory institutions move in with speed to hold those responsible for the misdeeds at Kenya Power accountable. While at it, they must ensure that the misappropriated and mismanaged funds are recovered and ploughed back in national development.