AUDITOR FLAGS STATE AGENCIES FOR FAILURE TO ACCOUNT FOR A COLOSSAL KSHS.17.5 BILLION

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The Auditor General has raised the red flag over failure by government agencies to explain expenditure worth over Kshs. 17.5 billion in Financial Year 2018-2018.

In her latest report on the National government, Auditor General Nancy Gathungu says failure by government agencies to explain how they spent the colossal sum of money raises concern that the monies could have been misappropriated. The amounts include 17.1 billion whose expenditure could not be accounted for by ministries, state departments, and agencies, a further expenditure of Sh329.5 million of national funds and Kshs.70 million in respect of donor-funded projects.

Ms. Gathungu reported that only 33 per cent of government agencies being 51 out of 148 audited accounts, were given a clean bill of health, while 48 per cent being 70 of 148 accounts, had audit issues during the year under review.

Additionally, 19 government institutions were flagged over audit queries, including the State Department for Information Communication and Technology, which had the highest unexplained amount. The Department could not explain payments amounting to Kshs.12.75 billion, relating to the Konza city project, the county connectivity project and the second phase of the national optic Fibre backbone infrastructure. The amount was paid to contractors by lending institutions for executing the project on behalf of the department. However, no details were provided to show the date of payments, authorization, and how the contractors were identified.

The other institutions which were specifically flagged include for unexplained expenditures were; Crops department, on Ksh.2.8 billion spent on procurement of subsidized fertilizer and unsupported insurance cost, Afya House, on Kshs. 336 million for failing to avail payment vouchers worth Kshs.3 million posted as compensation of employees as well as the Ministry of Health over KSh266 million on the construction of buildings, Kshs. 52.8 million spent on emergency relief and refugee assistance, and Sh13 million for purchase of motor vehicle.

Parliamentary Service Commission also failed to account for Kshs.323.5 million spent on county services operations while the Public Service department was queried over Kshs.199 million said to have been spent on training and hospitality services.

Other State Departments with audit queries included: the Labour Department –Kshs. 128 million, University Education department- on Kshs.110 million spent on construction of an administration block at the Jomo Kenyatta University of Science and Technology (JKUAT), the State Department for East African Community (EAC) over an irregular payment of Kshs.120 million on consultancy services, Kshs.16.9 million spent on the renovation of office, and Kshs.2.6 million spent on furniture and conference facilities, the Labour Department which could not account for Kshs.128 million said to be disbursements to consulate offices, the Environment ministry, flagged for Kshs.90 million spent in the procurement of an Airborne Lidar photographic system without providing procurement documents, the Planning Department flagged for unexplained imprests of Kshs.79 million, and the Arid and Semi-Arid department which could not account for Kshs.59 million.

Also questioned was a confidential expenditure of Kshs.29.5 million by the Immigrations and Citizen Services department, Kshs.16 million by the Devolution department, and Kshs.12 million by Irrigation department of which Kshs.6.3 million was allegedly spent on Lekasuyuni water pan, and Kshs.6 million on procurement of goods. The Livestock department as well could not explain Kshs.5 million spent on a tractor at Rabbit Institute, Kshs.4 million on agricultural machinery, and Kshs.3.67 million spent at the Isiolo mobile pastoral training field station. Fisheries department was queried over Kshs.6.9 million spent on rented space at NHIF building whereas the Shipping department failed to show how it spent Kshs.1.9 million on vehicle repairs. the Gender department also failed to support Kshs.8.5 million spent on office partitioning works.

The Judiciary, Kenya’s protector of the law and integrity, also found itself on the wrong side of the auditor’s books when it could not support Kshs.12.3 million spent on domestic travel and hospitality expenses. Also flagged were Kshs.176 million cash payment to Internally displaced persons (IDPs), Kshs.61 million paid to Asian and European pensioners, Kshs.51 million grants to various sports organizations, Kshs.28 million in National Government Affirmative Action Fund (NGAAF), and Kshs.10.6 million in unsupported schedules and signed agreements in the Civil Servants housing fund.

Outside the State departments and agencies, the Auditor also looked at the economic health issues and cited outstanding queries in respect of outstanding loan balances of Kshs.809 billion amid discrepancies in the confirmed balances and books held by the debtors. Also queried was the recoverability of some Kshs.84 billion dormant loans to various state agencies, the highest being Kenya Airways at Kshs.24 billion.

The Auditor General decried what she termed as widespread, persistent audit issues and said they required considerable interventions by the management to rectify. She took issue with the National Treasury for not applying sanctions to entities that failed to address issues raised by auditors, as required by law, which “has led to fiscal indiscipline including misallocations, wastage of resources and lack of value for money in the implementation of projects.” She however, promised to work with oversight agencies such as the Ethics and Anti-Corruption Commission (EACC) and the State Corporations Advisory Committee (SCAC) to increase the impacts of audits.

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