AUDITOR GENERAL EXPOSES IRREGULAR SPENDING AT DEVOLUTION MINISTRY

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The Government through the Auditor General has cracked the whip on irregular government expenditure, with the latest being a KShs. 1 Billion expenditure by Devolution Ministry.

In a review of the Ministry’s accounts for June 2020, Auditor General Nancy Gathungu cited instances of irregular procurement, unsupported expenditure and unaccounted for cash.

Ms Gathungu queried an expenditure of KShs. 60 million for purchases of air tickets from various suppliers without any supporting documents. In her report, she stated that no documentary evidence of travel including boarding passes and certificates of inspection and acceptance were provided for audit verification to confirm receipt of the tickets. She argued that the documents would have been evidence of the utilisation of the funds for the benefit of the state department, adding that, “it was not possible to confirm the propriety and validity of the expenditure of Sh60 million on purchase of air tickets.”

The report further queried acting allowances to an officer who was appointed as secretary for relief, rehabilitation and mobilisation affairs on November 7, 2019. The appointment had been backdated to July 5, 2017, more than two years, a move that contravenes the Human Resource (HR) policies and procedures manual of the Public Service Commission.

The officer in question had acted in the position for over four years whereas the HR manual provides that acting allowance is payable to an officer for only six months. Ms Gathungu said that this was in total breach of the law.

The Devolution Ministry was found to be in contravention of several other procedures; for instance, some KShs. 1.9 Million was issued to an officer as standing imprest in batches of KShs.100,000 and reimbursed 18 times. This was non-procedural as the imprests were used to make purchases of low value procurements, and had not been included in the Annual Procurement Plan.

According to Ms Gathungu’s report, some KShs. 917 million spent on the Kenya Devolution Support Programme (KDSP) as ‘other operating expenses’ was not budgeted for. This contravened the Public Procurement and Asset Disposal Act, 2015, and sections of the programme’s appraisal document.

For the payment irregularities, the Devolution Ministry is on the government’s radar for misconduct, and due process will be applied to stop such corrupt acts. The move to regularly audit Public Service entity accounts is in tandem with President Uhuru’s strictness in deterring corruption in the entities. President Uhuru Kenyatta is keen on curbing corruption, through the anti-graft campaign, that has seen several top government officials, state entities and ministries, tried in Court for gross misconduct.

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